As opening night draws closer, the reality sinks in that the Los Angeles Lakers will need to make a minimum of one cut (possibly two or three), before submitting their final rosters. Marcus Landry, Ryan Kelly, Xavier Henry, Elias Harris and Shawne Williams are the five guys with either only partially-guaranteed or non-guaranteed contracts.
Williams was signed for the veteran’s minimum on a partial guarantee, but his future with the Lakers becomes clearer as the preseason progresses. Williams has had a rough go-around during his time in the NBA (potential has been tainted with drug-related incidents), but Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni is confident in giving Williams another chance. Williams had his best NBA season playing under D’Antoni in New York, and now the Lakers head coach is hinting that the the 27-year-old may find himself in an even bigger role in this Lakers rotation.
I had Shawne for a year, I know, he’ll fight everyday, and he’s going to be tough and he’s going to make three’s,” D’Antoni said confidently after the Lakers win over the Utah Jazz Tuesday night. “I like Shawne, and he’ll play.”
Williams had nine points, five rebounds, on 3-of-10 shooting in the Lakers 108-94 win Tuesday night. Despite looking a bit out of rhythm in last night’s match-up, D’Antoni defended Williams’ effectiveness after the game.
He’s going to play. The guy can play. People just focus on what one guy does, it’s the whole team….Does he help Steve Nash be able to hit the pick and roll because he’s standing over in the corner and you can’t leave him because he’s going to make it?”
If D’Antoni is making the decisions, it sounds like not only will Williams make the final roster, he’ll be receiving substantial playing time this season, something that Williams was not necessarily expecting. Williams told the L.A. Times Eric Pincus he’s just happy to be around, whether or not he plays.
I’m happy to have any role. Just to be around,” he said, “I don’t care if I don’t play.”
Marcus Landry did not play in the Lakers win over the Utah Jazz Tuesday night, but D’Antoni says he expects to play him Friday. Though D’Antoni declares Landry the best shooter on the team, Landry hasn’t impressed in training camp. Xavier Henry, however, has had a couple big games during the preseason, and D’Antoni has also hinted he may have grabbed a spot. Ryan Kelly’s been a few steps behind, since being cleared to play just last week, and his future with the Lakers still remains uncertain. Like Williams, Elias Harris also has a partially-guaranteed contract, but has yet to break out during training camp. The Lakers have until 5pm eastern time on October 28th to submit their final rosters. ———————————————————————————————————————-
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