Josh McRoberts has a lot of fans around the league because he is a hard-nosed, smart player — not flashy but he plays within himself and gets the job done.
Which will make him an interesting fit on the Los Angeles Lakers. McRoberts signed for two years with the Lakers for the mini mid-level exception of $2.5 million per year, tweets Marc Spears of Yahoo. McRoberts, a Duke alum, played last season in Indiana.
McRoberts essentially replaces Odom on the court, although in a very different way. McRoberts is a great pickup at that price for the Lakers — solid rebounder and defender who is a very efficient scorer around the rim (68 percent shooter within three feet, according to John Schuhmann at NBA.com). He’s going to get open looks in L.A. he did not in Indiana, so his midrange may improve. He will provide quality minutes behind Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum (especially now that Derrick Caracter may be out for the season with a torn meniscus in his knee).
But he will not provide the versatility or skill of Odom, who could come in off the bench and just change a game. He also is not married to a Kardashian. Well, at least not yet.
The other thing McRoberts will not provide is a locker room presence. Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold phrased it well — in the Laker locker room Kobe Bryant is the bad cop, Derek Fisher the good cop, and Odom was the big brother who put his arm around you and talked to you about it. He will be missed.
That is not to diminish what is a nice pickup by the Lakers.
Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.
But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.
There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.
Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….
Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.
This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.
If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.
The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.
Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.
Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.
Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends.