Don’t Count on Ebanks and Caracter Being Great… Lakers

I was really excited seeing Ebanks light up the summer league. I was also happy to see that the Lakers might have a scrappy power forward who grabs rebounds and does the dirty work for the next season. Then I remembered that these are the Los Angeles Lakers, who don’t exactly have a great track record for hanging on to young talent. When they do decide to hang on to talent it almost always ends with mediocre production.

Let’s look at this objectively for a minute, it’s not like they trade all their good players right? One only need look at number 24 who came to the Lakers as a high school graduate and blossomed into the superstar that he is today. Still, the Lakers came close to parting with him. First, there was the possibility of him leaving via free agent after the loss to the Pistons. After that was his demand to be traded when the Lakers were eliminated by Los Suns.

Then there’s  Andrew Bynum who could be argued is in both categories. When he is healthy he is one of the league’s toughest centers. The inside presence he provides on both sides of the ball was invaluable to the Lakers last year. The obvious problem is that he is never really one hundred percent healthy. The Lakers have refused to trade him despite this and he has rewarded their patience (and contract extension) with great post play. Will this turn out to be a bad move? Only time will tell.

Now let’s look at the rest shall we? Tell me if you’re impressed by these names: Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic and Devean George. Those are the names of players that the Lakers thought enough of to pay for in the past. Luke Walton when healthy is a great facilitator who knows the system. Sasha has the ability to be a sniper from long range and can be an explosive scorer. Devean George was an athletic forward who could shoot the three and defend perimeter players very well. All three performed well below expectations for the length of their extensions.

Now let’s look at some players who were at some point let go by the Lakers: Trevor Ariza, Ronny Turiaf, Nick Van Exel, Caron Butler, Jannero Pargo and Eddie Jones. All of these players went on to have productive careers after leaving the Lakers. As for the two younger players on this list, I’m sure they will flourish in their new environments next season. To say that it was a bad move to let these players go would be difficult to say, seeing as how they just came off of a championship campaign. Despite this, wouldn’t you have loved to see them play out their careers or, at the very least, their primes in purple and gold?

I don’t mean to sound negative here, because these moves allow the Lakers to sign veterans and make championship pushes. How long can they keep this up, though? Eventually they will require another other-worldly talent on the wing and history shows they tend to dump them for aging players.

So while I’d love to think that Ebanks and Caracter are the future of the franchise, I just need to remind myself that I’ve felt this way before. And as we’ve seen in La La Land, we know how this story ends up.

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~ by Prodigy on August 20, 2010.

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