Lakers’ Josh McRoberts has made a name for himself
He thinks about it for a second, lets it roll around his mind.
Josh McRoberts loves it.
In his brief Lakers career, McRoberts has already carved out a section of fan-favorite status, including a nickname: McRambis.
“That’s a privilege and an honor to be compared to somebody like that,” McRoberts said.
Kurt Rambis earned an eternal Lakers following by showing hustle, a tolerance for pain and the desire to throw a sharp elbow when necessary.
McRoberts is the one who plans to chase loose balls, scramble for rebounds and do the messy work for the Lakers this season.
The power forward is already on his way to the top of the Lakers’ medical list, sustaining a sprained left thumb in the opener against Chicago and a sprained left big toe a night later against Sacramento.
McRoberts, 24, did his part in the Lakers’ breezy 96-71 victory Tuesday over Utah, blocking Al Jefferson’s shot, taking a floor burn while going after a free ball and converting an alley-oop dunk . He finished with six points, six rebounds and two blocked shots in 20 minutes.
He heard that teammate Jason Kapono claimed to be called by the Lakers at 6:01 a.m. the first day teams could court free agents.
“If Kapono said that, then I got called at about 6 o’clock and 30 seconds,” McRoberts said.
McRoberts has an easy sense of humor and knows he’s not Lamar Odom, though he played a mildly similar role with the Pacers, averaging 7.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 22.2 minutes last season.
“In Indy, I’d get a rebound and push it myself and bring it up court,” he said. “Some teams really wanted to get me [as a free agent] in that capacity, but here it’s rebounding and doing the dirty work.”
Eventually he’ll find a place to live in Los Angeles, but he has been busy with the glut of practices and games in the highly compressed NBA schedule. For now, he’s in a hotel by the Lakers’ training facility.
“I still feel like I’m on a 10-day [contract],” he said.
Go Mavs! Go Mavs?
The Lakers weren’t the only team who struggled in their first two games.
The Dallas Mavericks lost to Miami by 11 and Denver by 22, a trend that would interest the Lakers if Dallas continued to founder.
The Lakers acquired the Mavericks’ first-round selection in next year’s draft as part of the Odom trade, but it is protected for at least the next five seasons if it’s annually among the top 20 picks.
So the Lakers would want Dallas to be worse than last season, but not by much, finishing with a record that would net them the 21st pick.
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