Xavier Henry

Xavier Henry to replace Nick Young in Lakers starting lineup


After their surprising opening night victory against the Clippers, the Lakers have looked more like the team we expected to see with Kobe Bryant out of the lineup in the early part of the season.

L.A. has dropped two straight, and with Mike D’Antoni searching for answers, a change to the starting lineup will take place for the team’s game Sunday night at home against the Atlanta Hawks.

From Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times:

Xavier Henry will start in place of Nick Young on Sunday night against Atlanta, Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said. …

“Just [trying] to find a better spot for Nick, maybe get a little bit more production out of him,” D’Antoni said. “[Henry] has played as well if not better than anybody. There’s no reason not to go ahead and do this and lengthen his time on the court a little bit.”

Henry deserves the promotion, while Young’s numbers simply didn’t leave D’Antoni any choice.

Over his first three games, Young has made six field goals and committed three turnovers. He’s shot 3-10, 2-9, and 1-3 from the field, good for a mark of just 27.3 percent.

Henry, meanwhile, is averaging 13 points per game and his shooting 40 percent from the field. He struggled in his last outing, however, going 0-6 from the field in the loss to the Spurs. (And the nine stitches he took to the head may have had something to do with that.)

The change needed to be made, and it was a no-brainer given the players’ relative levels of production. But it’s not as though D’Antoni has a whole lot of options.