After the Lakers' third preseason loss, in as many games, last night, it’s time to look at what the Lakers roster will realistically look like when the regular season begins in two weeks. The NBA roster regulations stipulate that a team can carry a maximum of 15 players on their roster throughout the regular season. The Lakers have rarely carried more than 14 in the past, but this year is a little different. GM Mitch Kupchak has put major importance on depth this season. Couple that with the numerous injuries the Lakers have sustained during the offseason and preseason, and the Lakers will need to carry the maximum amount of players possible in the regular season.
Currently there are 13 players that have guaranteed contracts with the Lakers: Nash, Kobe, Metta, Pau, Howard, Blake, Meeks, Ebanks, Jamison, Hill, Morris, Duhon, and Clark. That means there are two roster spots up for grabs with a handful of players fighting for them in training camp. Robert Sacre, Darius Johnson-Odom, Andrew Goudelock, Greg Somogyi, Ronnie Aguilar, Reeves Nelson, and Chris Douglas-Roberts all have nonguaranteed contracts with Los Angeles. Mike Brown and Mitch Kupchak have two more weeks to choose two players from the lot of seven. However, after the first two weeks of training camp, two players have already shown that they deserve roster spots: Robert Sacre, and Chris Douglas-Roberts.
Robert Sacre, the Lakers only draft pick in 2012, has started all three preseason games at center as a result of the Dwight Howard’s injury. Sacre is averaging 7.7 points, 5 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 22 minutes per game. The numbers don’t tell the whole story for Sacre. He crashes the boards hard, and hustles on every play. He needs to work on his defensive skills, but that will come with experience in the league. His play has won over the team’s veterans as well. Steve Nash and Sacre had a connection before training camp even began. Both are Canadian players that came to the United States to play college ball. Nash has made it his mission to mentor the young center, he even calls him “Robbie”. With Dwight Howard slowly recovering from back surgery, the Lakers will need some depth at center. If Sacre continues to improve like he has in training camp, he will make the Lakers roster.
Chris Douglas-Roberts is three-year NBA veteran who played in Italy last year. CDR is a shooting guard that has the size to play the three. Douglas-Roberts hasn’t been given much playing time this preseason, but he has performed efficiently in his 8.7 minutes per game. He is averaging 5.3 points and 1 rebound per game, shooting 50% from the field. When Douglas-Roberts enters the game, the Lakers offense is visibly more aggressive and effective. He can create his own shot and is athletic enough to blow past defenders on his way to the basket. The Lakers are three deep at shooting guard but lack depth at small forward. If Mike Brown can utilize Douglas-Roberts at the three, he definitely deserves to make the roster.
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