As he sat by his locker room stall, Lakers guard Andrew Goudelock refused to think his days could be numbered.
The Lakers have yet to exercise their $789,000 option to bring him back for his second season. The team has a bloated backcourt, both at point guard and shooting guard. Although Goudelock showed some promise last season shooting 37.3% from three-point range, the Lakers still acquired sharpshooter Jodie Meeks in hopes of improving the team's 39.5% mark from behind the perimeter, 25th in the NBA.
"I think players play their best when they have a chip on their shoulder because they have something to prove," Goudelock told The Times in a quiet moment before the Lakers' preseason loss Sunday to the Golden State Warriors at Fresno's Save Mart Center. "They have that extra edge. Right now, I definitely think I have that."
Goudelock believes that's just emboldened him in his basketball career that's featured twists and turns along the way.
That backdrop has given Goudelock plenty to prove. He says he attracted very few recruiting offers out of Stone Mountain, Ga. Goudelock finished as College of Charleston's all-time leading scorer 2,571 points), but wasn't taken in the 2011 draft until the Lakers selected him with the 46th overall pick. The Lakers' coaching staff found Goudelock's outside game promising, but coudn't ignore his deficiencies in ball handling, playmaking and defense.
Goudelock said he spent a lot of time working on those weaknesses over the off-season with Lakers assistant coach Darvin Ham and player development coach Phil Handy. Goudelock said he dropped from 215 pounds to 195 by improving his diet with the help of Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco. Although it's widely presumed Meeks would become the Lakers' primary backup shooting guard, Lakers Coach Mike Brown said he's also giving Devin Ebanks and Goudelock a chance to compete for minutes.
"Whatever gets me on the floor. I'm a combo [guard]," Goudelock said. "I want to be at the point where if i'm asked to play point it's not an issue on whether I'm going to be able to get guys into the sets and direct everybody into where they need to go. Everybody knows I can play at 2 and can score. But I want to be the biggest threat I can be at point guard."
Goudelock finished with just two points on zero of three shooting and two assists playing 7 minutes 50 seconds in the loss Sunday to Golden State. Yet, Goudelock still believes he's competing for a roster spot that already features 13 players with guaranteed contracts.
They didn't say anything about it," Goudelock said. "It's definitely a difficult business so you never really know what's going to happen and what's going on. So for me, I just have to control what I can control. That's being on the court and do what I do and having fun and let it rest in God's hands."
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