Devin Ebanks: Added Size Gives Lakers Massive Advantage vs. Nuggets

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2012

NEW ORLEANS, LA - APRIL 09:  Al-Farouq Aminu #0 of the New Orleans Hornets fights for a ball with Devin Ebanks #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Arena on April 9, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana.   NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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Devin Ebanks started for the Lakers in place of suspended Metta World Peace in Game 1 against Denver. Ebanks has 12 points thus far, and will provide a huge advantage for Los Angeles in this series. 

Ebanks is young and inexperienced, but he is a hard-nosed player with solid potential.

He is two inches taller than World Peace and Matt Barnes. This added size will be a tremendous boost to the Lakers' formidable frontcourt. 


Impact on the Glass

Denver needs to win the battle of the boards if they want to knock off the third-seeded Lakers. Ebanks' presence in the starting lineup will make that more difficult. 

The Lakers already had quality rebounders in the starting lineup. Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol combine for nearly 20 boards per game. Ebanks only averaged 2.3 rebounds per game this season, but those numbers will skyrocket with more minutes. 

Denver needs Kenneth Faried and Kosta Koufos to maintain control of rebounds on both ends. They were facing a stiff challenge without Ebanks' lanky 6'9'' frame patrolling the paint. 



Ebanks has the height to play power forward and the athleticism to play on the wing. This creates matchup problems for the Nuggets

Ebanks' presence on the wing will hinder Danillo Gallinari. Gallinari is a very good perimeter player, but Ebanks is a physical player. His physicality could force Gallinari out of his element. 

If the Lakers stick Ebanks at power forward, he also provides problems for Denver. Faried is an athletic player down low, but Ebanks will negate some of his production.

Matching high-energy player against high-energy player opens the floor up for other players. This gives an obvious advantage to the more talented Laker squad. 


Youth Infusion

Ebanks is inexperienced, but his youth will be a welcome addition. He plays with a hop in his step, and World Peace didn't always bring that factor to the table. 

Ebanks' inexperience creates very low expectations. This allows the second-year player to just play the game and not worry about what happens tomorrow. 

The Lakers want to match Denver's energy on both ends of the floor. Energy is the only chance Denver has. Ebanks will play with the energy only a first-time starter can have in the postseason.

Los Angeles already had an obvious advantage in most categories in this first-round matchup. Ebanks' length, rebounding ability and versatile skill set adds some unexpected help to the Laker equation.