Unless Metta World Peace comes into training camp completely out of shape and unable to hit a shot (like he did last season), he will likely be in the starting lineup. World Peace is reportedly in great shape, however, and his defense will be highly valued, so he’s basically a lock to start barring any unforeseen events. So, let’s take a look at the small forward slot:
- Metta World Peace
- Antawn Jamison
- Devin Ebanks
- Earl Clark
Now here’s where things get a bit complicated. Metta World Peace will start, but who will be behind him in the rotation? Well, that all depends on what goes on in the front court. Antawn Jamison can play both positions, but primarily plays the power forward position. Jamison is far more comfortable at the four spot, but should Jordan Hill play exceptionally well at that position, or Devin Ebanks not perform up to standards at small forward, Jamison could be asked to help out at both positions.
Earl Clark could potentially see some time at the small forward position too, but according to 82games.com, his PER (Player Efficiency Rating) was 4.2 at small forward compared with 9.4 at the power forward slot last season. Additionally, Clark is 6’10” (although just 225 lbs) so it would make better sense for him to play at the power forward position.
Additionally, Clark has career averages of just 3.1 points and 2.1 rebounds over three seasons.
One thing sticks out to me, though. I once stated that retaining Devin Ebanks was the correct choice for the Lakers because of his size and athleticism, and also noted his flashes of success on the defensive end against superstar Kevin Durant.
When sizing them up, Ebanks’ wingspan was 4.5 inches shorter than Durant’s (the Thunder superstar’s was 7′ 4.75″), and he additionally gave up two inches in height (6’7″ compared with Durant’s 6’9″ without shoes), but he was also one of the few players in the league with some kind of length to at least get in Durant’s airspace.
Earl Clark, however, possesses the same height as Durant and a wingspan of 7′ 2.5″. With his size at only 225 pounds coupled with his athleticism and versatility, if the Lakers can get him to focus on guarding guys like Kevin Durant–or just Kevin Durant–he could potentially find himself getting minutes in big games.
Final Thought – With Devin Ebanks recently getting his weight up to 225, it appears as though he’s solely focused on playing at the small forward position next season, and unless he simply can’t perform up to expectations, it looks like he’ll be the first in line to back up Metta World Peace. Antawn Jamison could still steal minutes from him, though.
Next Page: Power Forward