Turns out Steve Blake Has Part to Play with LA Lakers After All

Although Jordan Farmar's return to the Los Angeles Lakers this season was the inspirational story of the offseason, there is no doubt that Steve Blake has been much more integral to the Lakers' competitiveness this season. 

While Farmar brings tenacity and versatility to the second unit, Blake has been filling in for a hobbled Steve Nash and has been putting up big numbers despite being 33 years old. 

Averaging 10.1 points, 7.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds while playing 31.6 minutes per game, Blake has been producing the way fans were expecting Nash to produce. While he is only shooting 40.6 percent from the floor, his 46 percent shooting from beyond the arc has really helped the Lakers spread the floor.

According to NBA.com/Stats, Blake is hitting over 50 percent of his three-point shots from every area except the right corner. He is especially proficient from the left corner, hitting 58.3 percent of his threes from there. This isn't surprising given the fact that Blake has always been a good shooter throughout his career.

What is surprising is the fact that Blake looked like he was on his last legs last season. He wasn't producing well as a passer or a rebounding presence and looked like he had degraded into purely a spot-up shooter. 

The difference may be the amount of athletes on the floor this season. Despite losing Dwight Howard, one of the best athletes in the league, the Lakers were able to replace the aging veterans from last season with young talent who can really run the floor, box out their checks and really fight for those rebounds. 

Despite losing their best rebounder to the Houston Rockets, the Lakers are still in the top 10 in rebounding with 53.7 boards per game. This takes the pressure off of Blake to use his aging body to really fight his man for boards. Ironically, this reduction in pressure has helped him gather over three rebounds p...

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