In two days in Texas, the Los Angeles Lakers lost two games and found two new players. More importantly, the Lakers found two young players who are hungry, athletic, and energetic.
In Houston, Robert Sacre proved he can offer quality backup minutes at the center position. Sacre may lack rebounding ability, but he blocks shorts, makes baskets, and is a good interior passer.
In San Antonio, Earl Clark showed he can play. Clark played with defensive energy and offensive precision. He shot 9-12 from the field en route to 22 points, 13 rebounds, and three assists in only 28 minutes. Even Pau Gasol doesn’t do that consistently these days. Clark displayed the skills; now, he must show he can do it again.
With Darius Morris and Jodie Meeks already established as useful bench players, Jordan Hill and Steve Blake can return from injury to complete a deep Lakers bench.
Also, Antawn Jamison and Chris Duhon can fit in when necessary. However, neither Duhon nor Jamison offers the energy that the young core of Hill, Sacre, Meeks, and Clark offer. Devin Ebanks may fall into that category as well, but he has only played nine minutes over the last 10 games.
The Lakers’ second unit may not be great, but they certainly have energy and heart—exactly what he Lakers have been lacking this season. Considering the quality of the starting five, Lakers’ coach Mike D’Antoni has rarely allowed five bench players on the floor at the same time this season. That needs to change for this team to come to life.
If this team is staying together and the coach is here to stay, the Los Angeles Lakers need to build a winning team that includes a full bench unit playing important minutes every game. Earl Clark, Robert Sacre, Jodie Meeks, and Darius Morris play hard. What these players lack in ability and experience, they make up in effort.
In two days in Texas, the Lakers lost two games, and found two missing ingredients: youth and energy.