Below is the tenth in a series previewing the storylines surrounding each player on the Lakers’ roster for the 2013-14 season. This post focuses on Lakers backup center Robert Sacre.
1. Will Robert Sacre have a bigger role? Even if he made the best of an opportunity for the 60th draft pick, Sacre’s role usually amounted to nothing more than providing some energy when Dwight Howard experienced health issues and leading the bench in cheers. With Howard’s departure, it’s possible Sacre will have more of a chance to contribute. But that’s not entirely clear. The Lakers have plenty of big men, ranging from Chris Kaman, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, three players who will take most of the minutes assuming they’re healthy and not playing in a blow-out game. Still, teams can never have too many big men for various reasons.
Players, such as Sacre, can make the rest of the frontcourt practice harder by playing physical and competitive with them. Kaman, Gasol and Hill all face uncertainty on whether they can stay healthy. Expect the Lakers only to use Sacre in emergency situations. But it’s an option the Lakers are fortunate to have.
2. Has Sacre developed more of his game? Of course, Mike D’Antoni’s willingness to use Sacre will depend on how much he’s improved this offseason. The Lakers wanted him to work more on his outside shooting and mobility in hopes that he’d become more than just an energy guy. Sacre provided encouraging signs on the Lakers’ Summer League team by averaging 8.6 points, 6.6 boards and a 78.9 percent clip from the foul line through five games. But Sacre only shot 42.4 percent from the field and appears raw in his post-game. The Lakers see value in Sacre or else they wouldn’t have committed a three-year deal in him. But it remains to be seen how quickly Sacre will develop.