In case you were still wondering whether the backcourt glut could get any bigger, the Lakers have decided to throw more competition into the mix by signing Chris Douglas-Roberts, a swingman who last played for the Milwaukee Bucks before finding himself in Italy with Virtus Bologna. We have the details from Lakers.com:
The Los Angeles Lakers have signed forward Chris Douglas-Roberts, it was announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.
Douglas-Roberts, a three-year NBA veteran out of the University of Memphis, was originally selected by the then-New Jersey Nets in the second round (40th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft. Douglas-Roberts has appeared in 155 NBA games (53 starts) for the Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks, recording career averages of 7.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 20.6 minutes.
The quip about now having nine (!) backcourt players aside, CDR does provide some competition for Jodie Meeks, whose hold on the backup two guard spot was only threatened by the likes of Andrew Goudelock and Darius Johnson-Odom, both of whom are not even locks to make the roster, yet alone earn rotation minutes. While it is unlikely that CDR changes anything in this regard barring an excellent training camp, as he almost certainly has a non-guaranteed deal that requires such a performance for him to make the team, that competition now exists at the position is a positive development.
As for CDR himself, he was a so-so wing brought down by an inability to make threes -- career 28.6% shooter -- and a one-on-one game not quite good enough to justify playing him extended minutes. That he does not see the floor well, as seen in his pitiful 9.8 assist rate with the Bucks, means that he almost always drives with the intent to score, which he doesn't do so all that efficiently. His 53.8% mark around the rim reflects poorly on his finishing ability and athleticism, and CDR doesn't help himself with a rather mediocre in-between game as well. He does shoot very well on long twos, hitting 43% from 16-23 feet in his last season with Milwaukee, but his efficiency will always be dragged down if he is unable to stretch that into real three-point accuracy.
This is especially a concern given the current team makeup, which no longer is in dire need of basically any form of perimeter production. On last season's team, for instance, CDR would have been useful due to having any remote semblance of scoring ability, besides the fact that he would have been a real backup to Kobe Bryant. Now he has to compete against Meeks, a high efficiency three-point marksman that meshes much better with the talent on the rest of the floor, whereas that synergy is harder to manufacture with CDR's more one-on-one game. If you put him against Devin Ebanks, CDR's defensive limitations become more visible in comparison, although you could view him as insurance against Ebanks not panning out as well.
All this noted, it is a fair statement that CDR is better at the moment than both Goudelock and DJO and wouldn't be a bad choice as a fifth wing in the rotation. His ability to play either wing position further adds to this perception. As such, the question becomes whether the team values CDR's production -- and let us not forget that he is only 25: it would not be terribly outlandish for him to have improved in the meantime -- over Goudelock's or DJO's potential. We have discussed the advantages that DJO has going into training camp over Goudelock insofar as making the team is concerned, but ultimately, how CDR will change this calculus will be borne out in the next few weeks.
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