This is the eleventh in a series grading the Lakers’ efforts on the 2012-13 season.
Player: Chris Duhon
How he performed: Averaged 2.9 points on 38.2 percent shooting and 2.9 assists through 17.8 minutes in 46 regular-season games; averaged 5.5 points on 36.4 percent shooting and 3.5 rebounds through 34 minutes in two playoff games
Verdict: Duhon was nothing more than a throw-in as part of the Lakers’ deal that brought them Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic. But he suddenly was asked to do more. A slew of injuries to Steve Nash (fractured left leg) and Steve Blake (fractured left leg) thrust him into the starting lineup for nine games where Duhon averaged 6.9 points, 5.4 assists and a 42.1 percent mark from 3-point range. It also helped that Duhon thrived under Mike D’Antoni in New York, averaging a career-high 11.1 points on 42.1 percent shooting and 7.2 assists. But Blake’s return in late January and D’Antoni’s want for a tighter rotation pushed Duhon out of the lineup.
Grade: C. Duhon could hardly match the void Nash and Blake left with their respective injuries. But Duhon fulfilled his role always in a professional manner, regardless of whether he was on the court. It’s likely the Lakers will buy out his $3.5 million contract by June 30th.
Player: Devin Ebanks
How he performed: Averaged 3.4 points on 32.9 percent shooting and 2.2 rebounds through 10.4 minutes in 19 regular-season games.
Verdict: In his first two seasons with the Lakers, he cemented himself with a reputation as an unassuming hard worker that could become a solid role player. That went to waste his third season. First he was arrested on suspicion of DUI in early November the night before the Lakers fired Mike Brown. Ebanks immediately fell out of the rotation. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni gave him a chance in mid-December. But Ebanks shot only 9 of 25 during a three-game stretch and appeared noticeably out of shape, earning himself a permanent spot on the rotation. Meanwhile, he hardly appeared engaged in practice and pre-game warmups.
Grade:F. Ebanks, who will become a restricted free agent this summer, didn’t just squander an opportunity to resign with the Lakers. His lack of effort may have cost him another look with any NBA team.
Player: Andrew Goudelock
How he performed: Averaged 12 points on 44.4 percent shooting in 26.7 minutes through three playoff games.
Verdict: The only consolation to Kobe Bryant’s season-ending torn left Achilles’ tendon? It may have thrust Goudelock into an NBA career. The Lakers’ selected him with the 46th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft and then later cut him in the 2012 training camp. But with Bryant out of the lineup, the Lakers recalled him from the Development League after remaining impressed with his outside shooting.
Goudelock delivered, posting a career-high 20 points on 8 of 17 shooting and three steals in 41 minutes in the Lakers’ Game 3 first-round loss to San Antonio. The Lakers may have still fallen in a four-game sweep, but Goudelock proved he can handle the playoff pressure.
Grade: A. Goudelock still has weaknesses in his game, including his lack of size on defense and ball handling. But he did everything he could to give himself a great shot to make an NBA roster. Goudelock’s future likely won’t be set until the Lakers first handles free agency in July.
Player: Darius Morris
How he performed: Averaged 4 points on 38.8 percent shooting in 14.2 minutes through 48 regular-season games; averaged 10.5 points on 45.7 percent shooting in 26.3 minutes through four playoff games
Verdict: Morris may not have cracked D’Antoni’s final rotation. But he made major leaps from his rookie season that prompted more playing time. Morris showed he’s capable of defending bigger guards. He found a better balance to temper his speed so that it doesn’t cause him to make mistakes on the floor. More importantly, Morris hasn’t dialed back his positive attitude and work ethic.
Grade: C. Morris may have improved on his decision-making, but it still wasn’t enough to earn D’Antoni’s trust. After Morris started in 17 games early in the season, D’Antoni avoided playing him even when the Lakers experienced persisting injuries in their backcourt. Still, the Lakers remain confident he will continue to improve because of his eagerness to learn and spend all hours in the gym.
Player: Robert Sacre
How he performed: Averaged 1.3 points on 37.5 percent shooting and 1.1 rebounds in 6.3 minutes through 32 regular-season games.
Verdict: The Lakers universally loved his enthusiasm, illustrated by his penchant to rise off the bench after big plays and wildly dance and cheer. It’s hard to completely evaluate Sacre’s season since he rarely played. But in his three starts where he averaged 6.7 points and 3 rebounds, Sacre showed plenty of energy and hustle.
Grade: C+. Sacre could improve his mid-range game and post moves. But it’s hard to expect much from the 60th pick in the 2012 NBA draft.
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