It’s not exactly breaking news when an NBA backup says he wants more playing time, and that he’ll be gunning for a starting job come training camp. It is more noteworthy, however, if you’re talking about the defending NBA champions and a position battle where the backup could conceivably unseat the incumbent starter.
Early into L.A.’s most recent playoff run, I wrote that Jordan Farmar‘s sub-par performance throughout the season was part of the reason the Lakers faced an uncertain future at point guard. Last year, Farmar was supposed to challenge Derek Fisher for the #1 job, but a nagging toe injury, inconsistent play, and the rise of Shannon Brown kept him about as far away from starting as Vince Young is right now. Aside from one postseason start (when Fisher was suspended for putting his shoulder into Luis Scola‘s mouth), Farmar was largely invisible throughout the championship run, averaging 13 minutes, 4.7 points and 1.7 assists per game. Now that he’s healthy, Farmar wants Fisher’s job. Or somebody else’s.
“I want to run a team and be the lead guard,” Farmar said in an Associated Press interview at a basketball camp in Singapore. “Hopefully, it can be here (with the Lakers). There’s a lot of jobs out there. I feel I have a lot to offer.”
Farmar said the Lakers told him a “ton” of teams were interested in trading for him, but L.A. didn’t want to give him up. He acknowledged Fisher is the #1 QB for now, but also spoke of the vet in almost past-tense terms.
“Derek’s had a great run,” Farmar said. “He’s probably going to be the guy starting off. I just want to continue to push him.”
The competition might be closer than you think. Everybody forgot it after Fisher dropped two crucial shots in Game Four of the Finals, but he was generally terrible throughout the playoffs. He was routinely getting carved up defensively by Deron Williams in the first round and Aaron Brooks in the second, and Farmar saw the lion’s share of his PT in that latter series because he could somewhat keep Brooks in check. If he stakes his claim on defense, Farmar could get a long look from Phil Jackson, because Fish is clearly better in the shot-making and experience department. But it’s not very likely Phil benches his veteran coming off a championship where he delivered what he’s supposed to deliver.
The Lakers aren’t rebuilding yet. For now, it looks like Farmar will have to wait at least another year.