Anyone who is even slightly interested in the Lakers understands that the team is in desperate need of a young, athletic point guard. This has been surrounding the Lakers for a couple of years now, but has been in the spotlight since the Lakers were swept out of the playoffs by Dallas last season. There is no disrespect for Derek Fisher, as he is one of the most influential Lakers of all-time, but as time goes on, the problem with the point guard position becomes more and more apparent.
With Tuesday’s news that Derrick Caracter had been cut from the team, leaving room for an acquisition to be made to the current roster, it seems as if Mitch Kupchak is starting to get the wheels in motion to relieve this problem. What moves are ahead and who those moves involve are pure speculation, which is normal for Kupchak to keep things under wraps. The problem could be solved or be relieved for the short-term, we simply do not know.
However, one thing has surfaced this season that was welcomed but not expected by Laker fans. Phil Jackson was widely known for not giving many minutes, if any at all, to rookies or second year players. For the first half of this season thus far, new head coach Mike Brown, seemed to follow Jackson’s approach to this concerning rookie for Charleston, Andrew Goudelock.
Then, Steve Blake went down and Mike Brown turned to the other rookie, Darius Morris, to fill in as reserve for the already struggling Fisher. This experiment didn’t work. On the January 25th matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers, Brown put in Goudelock as point guard reserve, but this time Brown tried something different. Goudelock played 20 minutes, which was the longest he had played all season long, trumping the 13 minutes he was on the court on Christmas Day against Chicago.
In that January 25th game, Goudelock scored 14 points, on 5-8 shooting and 2-3 from the three, helping the Lakers to beat their newfound rivals, the Clippers, in a thrilling game. Since that game, Goudelock has not only impressed Mike Brown and the Laker fans, but Kobe Bryant as well. In fact, in the time since that Clipper game, the Black Mamba himself has given Goudelock a nickname of his own, the ‘Mini-Mamba.’
When Goudelock has played at least fifteen minutes, he is averaging over 10 points per game, shooting 51 percent from the field and shooting 50 percent from the three, where the rest of the Lakers are still struggling. Goudelock has seemed completely confident in his shot, especially his three-point attempts and has displayed a running jumper, nicknamed the “Glock Drop” by Lakers Nation, that seems to be a fan favorite.
Goudelock recently stated, “I think I was kind of in awe when I came out here playing with some of these guys. I didn’t know where to fit in or how to do it. The talent has always been there, but I didn’t really know how to put it all together. These last few games, just running point guard, I think I’ve been more aggressive to simplify things, not trying to think too much and just play my game, and I think it’s working out for me.”*
He added, “I think the biggest thing I learned, though, was that you have to be confident. You can’t be intimidated, and you can’t be shy out there. I’d played against guys who went to the NBA, so I knew the talent level and what I had to do to make it.”**
Laker fans need to remember, Goudelock isn’t technically a point guard. He is a shooting guard. He added, “I’ve never played point guard before, so I’ve definitely had to make adjustments. It goes back to Charleston for me. I played four years there, and coach (Bobby) Cremins taught me so much about everything, including attitude. We played big schools every year, and we did pretty well against them.”**
Speaking out on Goudelock’s recent play, Mike Brown said, “He’s definitely stepped in and taken over that role. He’s been ready whenever we’ve called on him and has done a good job. He’s very confident out there. He knows what we expect of him, and he tries to deliver. He’s not intimidated by the pressure of playing in the NBA; that’s for sure.”**
Is Goudelock a solution to the point guard situation currently facing the Lakers? No. However, his consistent performance and confidence has been a great addition to the Lakers’ struggling bench. As Laker fans are all too aware of, one key way to continually win and compete long-term, the bench needs to consistently produce. Goudelock has been doing exactly this so far this season, which is quite impressive for a second round draft pick rookie.
*Source: LATimes.com | Mark Medina
**Source: FoxSportsWest.com | Joe McDonnell