Lakers report card: Josh McRoberts’ initial buzz wore off
This is the 12th in a series of posts grading the Lakers on the 2011-12 season.
Player: Josh McRoberts
How he performed: 2.8 points on 47.5% shooting and 3.4 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game in the regular season; 0.3 points on 25% shooting and 0.7 rebounds in 2.7 minutes per game in the post-season.
The good: His high socks, high elevation and high energy created high expectations. The Lakers signed McRoberts to a two-year, $6-million deal to fill Lamar Odom’s spot, but not to completely fill his absence. Yet, in the first month of the season, the Lakers were led to believe things would turn out just fine. During Andrew Bynum’s four-game suspension to open the season, McRoberts started at power forward and averaged six points on 44.4% shooting, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 25.8 minutes. His high motor and blue-collar work ethic instantly earned comparisons to former Laker Kurt Rambis. The new Lakers’ forward epitomized the grinding mentality Coach Mike Brown wanted for his team.
When given the right opportunity, McRoberts seemed as if he could provide every intangible the Lakers could ever want — grabbing offensive putbacks and turning defensive rebounds into quick outlet passes. He’d be the Lakers’ enforcer when opponents got too chippy. McRoberts would throw down a few dunks to remind L.A. there were two teams worthy of being called “Lob City.”
The bad: McRoberts’ impressive debut became nothing more than a one-hit wonder. He sat out for six games in January because of a sprained big toe on his left foot. Even when McRoberts returned healthy, Brown sat him in February and March because Troy Murphy spaced the floor better. Even when McRoberts took back his spot, it was soon taken away again because of an emerging Jordan Hill.
Some of these circumstances weren’t his fault. This reflects the nature of Brown’s evolving rotations. But McRoberts could’ve offered more than just endless energy. The Lakers’ coaching staff implored him to work more on his shooting, yet McRoberts passed up open shots. McRoberts never lacked for effort, but he often remained undisciplined on defense.
Considering that McRoberts has an expiring contract, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Lakers moved him. They need more from their bench than he can provide. That’s hardly a surprise going into the season. McRoberts routinely has showed that he’s a solid role player with limited skills. But it’s clear the initial buzz he provided left the Lakers wanting more. That never came.
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