Centers/Forwards: Matt Barnes, Josh McRoberts, Troy Murphy, Devin Ebanks, Jordan Hill
Matt Barnes After a slow start, Barnes’ productivity has been one of the Lakers’ bright spots overthe second half of the season. Already playing well when Sessions was added, Barnes has simply flourished now that he’s finally being ‘found’ when slashing/cutting and catching the ball in rhythm when shooting. Barnes’ ankle will remain a concern, as he will have had exactly 1-calendar week to rest since the Lakers begin their playoff march on Sunday (@Staples). Barnes’ Grade: B-
Josh McRoberts Started the season playing extended minutes in Bynum’s absence, and impressed with his energy and lob-dunks. A troublesome toe-sprain slowed his progress, and limited his playing time throughout the season. McRoberts is still a nice option off the bench as an energy-guy. Will be interesting to see what type of work he puts into his offensive game over the off-season, as he heads into the final year of his contract. McRoberts’ Grade: C
Troy Murphy Following the botched trade for CP3, the Lakers were in definite scramble mode. I’m not saying Troy Murphy and Jason “We hardly knew you” Kapono were players GM Mitch Kupchak was forced to settle for…but their signings (just before the regular season) definitely have the ‘look’ of “wishful thinking” contracts. Seemingly, in search of a viable outside shooting threat for the better part of the past decade, Kupchak was likely hoping Murphy could be closer to the 15/10 guy from the Warriors/Pacers than the 3/3 he’s provided. Outside of a decent rebounding stretch early on, he’s been relegated to the bench. Murphy’s Grade: C-
Devin Ebanks Having spent time in the D-League with the Los Angeles Defenders, Devin Ebanks went from “Mr. Irrelevant” to (potentially) “Mr. Significant” over the course of one lockout-shortened season. Ebanks’ length and activity allowed him to impress Coach Brown while playing extended minutes during Bryant’s 7-game absence. His productivity will be even more vital heading into the playoffs, as he is slated to start in MWP’s absence. Limited minutes, but still showed potential for Laker fans to look forward to heading into next season. Ebanks’ Grade: C+
Jordan Hill Hill didn’t get many opportunities, but he certainly made the most of his best chance to date. As, seemingly, as last-ditch effort to spark the team, Coach Brown decided to give Hill a shot against the Thunder (last Sunday). We know the results: 14 points, 15 rebounds, 3 blocks, and about 200 dreads shaken in 35 passion-filled minutes of a come-from-behind victory. Obviously, that isn’t enough to grade someone upon, so I will simply acknowledge the potential of the former #8 overall pick can go a long way towards convincing Lakers management to pick up the 3.6 million dollar option on his contract if he were able to capture lightening in a bottle during the playoffs.