Writer’s roundtable is back! With the season just around the corner the anticipation of this season is building to all-time highs. But before the season gets underway, the Lakers have to make some roster cuts to get the team down to 15 players. In this installment of writer’s roundtable we take the issue, “which rookie, or newcomer has the best chance to make the final roster?”
Here are what our writers had to say:
Jabari Davis: C Robert Sacre
With the unfortunate news of newly re-signed backup PF/C Jordan Hill being sidelined with a herniated disc in his back, I would have to imagine rookie Robert Sacre has the best chance at this point. Hill seemed to think it was merely a precautionary measure and that he would return sooner than expected (via Twitter), but with Howard just returning from a similar injury one would think Lakers’ management would strongly consider holding on to Sacre if for no reason other than insurance.
The 7′ center out of Gonzaga only helped his cause with the energy/effort he provided during his 18 minutes of action in the first pre-season game (Sunday vs. GS). Should he work on his footwork and court-awareness, it isn’t a stretch to imagine him carving out a definite place in the NBA, and hopefully with these Lakers.
Suki Thind: C Robert Sacre
I’m going to go with Robert Sacre here. Although Sacre has only played two pre-season games for the Lakers thus far, he impressed his coaches and teammates with his work ethic, and even earned praise from a very important teammate–Kobe Bryant. According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Times, Bryant had this to say about the 7’0″ rookie center out of Gonzaga:
“I think he did fantastic. I think he played extremely, extremely well. He’s a hard worker. He came out and learned the offense and learned the defense. He got the start tonight. He answered the bell. He came out and played exceptionally well.”
On top of earning the approval of the Black Mamba, Sacre has the best shot (in my opinion) of making the team due to his position as well. As I detailed in an earlier article regarding the depth chart, the Lakers appear stacked at all positions and have enough versatility in the two through four spots, which should enable them to compensate for any injuries that may arise.
However, with Dwight Howard still out due to back surgery (he is getting close to returning, however) and Jordan Hill sidelined until at least the season opener, Sacre will be relied upon to provide some minutes at the center position. Although Pau Gasol would normally slide over to the center slot in any other situation, head coach Mike Brown has decided to mirror the regular season rotations as much as possible during the pre-season.
As long as everyone is healthy to start the season, however, I don’t see Sacre getting much playing time behind Howard, Gasol, and Jordan Hill at the center position, but I don’t see any of the other newcomers breaking into the rotation, either.
Josh Sexton: G Andrew Goudelock
Throughout the off-season and now the pre-season, I have heard many fans and media types share the sentiment that Andrew Goudelock would likely be left off the team’s final roster in favor of Darius Johnson-Odom, Robert Sacre or Chris Douglas-Roberts. Solid arguments can be made for each of those players making the team’s final roster. Goudelock can potentially provide something none of the other players fighting for a roster spot can, however: potent three-point shooting.The Lakers originally drafted Goudelock out of College of Charleston in 2011 for his shooting ability from behind the arc. Last season one of the team’s biggest weaknesses was three-point shooting. The Lakers were tied for 25th in the league in three-point percentage. That percentage will undoubtedly increase this season with the additions of Steve Nash and Jodie Meeks, but having a player coming off the pine who can potentially spread the floor would make an already improved bench even better.
Daniel Buerge: C Robert Sacre
I was going to write about Darius Johnson-Odom in an attempt to not pick the same guy everybody else did, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Sacre has everything the Lakers need at the end of their bench right now. He’s a big body that will be useful in practice against Howard, Hill and Gasol, but he’s also a decent backup plan if the Lakers run into any injury issues down the road. He may never get better than he is right now, but even if that’s the case the Lakers could use his size, durability and strength both in practice and in sporadic game time.
Elliot Anavim: G/F Chris Douglas-Roberts
My dark horse candidate to make this team is Chris Douglas-Roberts, or as his teammates like to call him – CDR. The former Memphis Tiger had a very successful collegiate career, making the Conference USA All-Freshman Team and helping his team reach the National Championship game during his sophomore season; which led to him being drafted 40th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft.
The main reason I think CDR has the best chance to make the team is his versatility. Mitch Kupchack usually has an affinity for players who can do multiple things and play multiple positions on the court. His 6’8” frame could allow him to play both the SG and SF positions, but mainly SF. So in case of an injury this would prove to be beneficial. With the news that Jordan Hill is banged up, I see Jamison sliding over and playing PF much more (assuming the injury becomes an issue during the season). This would really hurt the SF depth, especially if Ebanks continues having problems with his outside shooting . In limited minutes during the 2010-2011 season Douglas-Roberts made 15 3-pointers with the Milwaukee Bucks. That is 15 more than Ebanks made last season.
Ultimately, having a young, versatile player with deep range and unreached potential at the end of your bench can’t hurt.