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Film Study: Can Damian Jones win the starting center spot?

Set to begin his second stint as a Laker, Damian Jones’ efficient scoring and athletic ability should have him in the running for the starting center spot.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

After a successful season with the Sacramento Kings, Damian Jones agreed to return to the Lakers on a veteran’s minimum deal. In fact, he cited his previous experience in the purple and gold across a pair of 10-day contracts towards the tail end of the 2020-21 campaign as reason for the mutual interest between the two parties.

However, it was his time in Sac-Town where Jones established himself as an NBA-caliber center, making more than 65% of his field goals and shot nearly league average from distance — albeit on a very small sample. Still, his willingness to expand his game to the 3-point line paints the picture of a player who wants to improve and adapt to the modern NBA. Also, if he does turn out to be a capable shooter from distance, and the Lakers choose to empower him to take threes, his ability to stretch the floor would make him an even more dynamic fit next to Anthony Davis.

In addition to growing his package of offensive offerings, Jones also improved on the defensive end, showcasing a unique combination of athleticism and anticipation.

Let’s take a closer look at the film for a more detailed look Jones’ skillset and how he’ll fit on this Lakers squad:

Based on the film, it’s clear why the Lakers coveted Jones this offseason. His unique skillset combined with a commitment to develop and refine his game could make him a mainstay in the Lakers’ rotation. Whether he does earn the starting center role will be answered in due time, but Jones already looks like an impact player with a valuable skillset for this Lakers squad.

Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, is a youth basketball coach at the U12 level and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training. Combining his background in biomechanics, movement science, and learning science - he consults in a variety of sports including basketball on movement mechanics and skill acquisition. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC and analyzes the Lakers from a skills & medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.