Luke Walton finds it ‘tricky’ integrating Jose Calderon into Lakers’ lineup

first_img“We’d love to find opportunities to get Jose out there,” Walton said. “If it comes, we’ll give it to him.”Similarly, Lakers reserve forward Tarik Black received healthy scratches for three games after missing nine of the previous 10 games because of a sprained right ankle. Walton did not want to disrupt consistent play from Lakers reserve forward Thomas Robinson. Black played on Sunday against Toronto. As for Calderon, Walton planned to feature him late in Friday’s game against Dallas. Then he decided otherwise as the Lakers struggled with another third-quarter start. “I was hopeful we would be able to meet that challenge and fight back with some of the young guys,” Walton said. “It didn’t work out like that. That would’ve been a good opportunity to get Jose out there.”Whenever Calderon gets out there, Walton said he will have “no restrictions. Yet, Walton said he will proceed cautiously with Calderon, whom the Lakers acquired last offseason from Chicago for cost-cutting purposes. LOS ANGELES >> In theory, the Lakers value veteran reserve point guard Jose Calderon for his experience and ability to play in spot minutes.In reality, Lakers coach Luke Walton has not found many instances recently to grant Calderon that playing time. After nursing a strained right hamstring that sidelined him for 10 games, Calderon returned to the active roster only to have four healthy scratches entering Sunday’s game against Toronto at Staples Center. Calderon has averaged 4.7 points on 48.1 percent shooting and 2.6 assists in 13.9 minutes through 14 games. Despite calling Calderon “ready,” Walton said he has found it “tricky” to integrate the 32-year-old veteran into the lineup for a few reasons.Walton does not want to disrupt the tandem between reserve guards Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson. Williams ranks first in the NBA in bench scoring (18.6 points per game), while Clarkson has fared fifth overall (14.2) among players that have played as reserves for at least 12 games. Walton also has moved rookie forward Brandon Ingram to point guard at times to take advantage of his size (6-foot-9, 190 pounds) and to develop his ball-handling skills. “It’s not the total minutes, but more how many minutes in a row he plays,” Walton said. “You don’t want to play him for 12 straight minutes. In my opinion, that’s when you’re more likely to get hurt and fatigued when you try to make moves with an older body.”Back in sightIn what has become her familiar game-day ritual, Lakers president Jeanie Buss watched Sunday’s game in her seat a row behind the courtside fans across from the team’s bench. It marked Buss’ first appearance since she and Knicks president and former Lakers coach Phil Jackson announced they ended engagement plans that were first made four years ago. Buss, who had dated Jackson since 1999, was not in her customary seat last week against Utah and Dallas. center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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