Lakers' Robert Sacre must improve his outside shooting

Lakers' Robert Sacre must improve his outside shooting
Lakers center Robert Sacre tries to get to a rebound before Raptors forward Patrick Patterson in the first half. (Nathan Denette / Associated Press)

The boos came down from the crowd after Robert Sacre scored an easy basket off an offensive rebound.

They weren't directed at him. That would be almost sacrilege in Canada, a direct hit at one of their own, Sacre having grown up in Vancouver and everything.


Toronto Raptors fans were simply unhappy their team was losing by 10 to the Lakers in the first quarter Friday. It didn't last long, the Raptors coming back and winning, 94-83.

The media attention Sacre received in his home country was a reminder of a smaller part of the Lakers' season. He was averaging 4.4 points, taking 3.4 rebounds a game, even started a handful of games.

But will he be back next season? His defense is good enough but his offense hasn't caught up to it.

He's shooting 55% from five feet and under, and it drops off drastically from there: 31% from five to nine feet and 33% from 10 to 14 feet, submarining his overall accuracy to 40% before Friday's game, very low for a big man who never shoots threes.

Sacre has a nonguaranteed contract next season for $981,358, a relatively small sum in a league with an average salary of about $5.5 million. The Lakers are expected to either draft a big man or sign one in free agency. Plus they are leaning toward exercising a $9-million team option on Jordan Hill and probably will bring back reserve center Tarik Black, who will make even less than Sacre on a nonguaranteed salary.

Will the Lakers' top towel-waver be gone?

"I have no idea," Sacre said. "At this moment in time, I'm expecting to be back but I don't know."

There's nothing but kind words about Sacre's defense from Coach Byron Scott.

He's tough. He's their best pick-and-roll defender. Their top communicator on the court.

But in the era of smooth-shooting big men, Sacre must improve his outside shot during the off-season.

"I pretty much know what Rob can do. But there's areas that I think he can improve, things that we're going to talk about when the season's over," Scott said.

Sacre loved being back home. And he entertained everybody who surrounded him in the locker room.

He also lamented about something that dated to 2001 and involved a move to Tennessee.

"It's too bad the Grizzlies left Vancouver. Let's just call it what it is — it was a robbery," he said. "There needs to be a team in Vancouver."