Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Ways Reeves Nelson Impacts the Lakers in 2012-13

James Shim@shimmersiamCorrespondent ISeptember 17, 2012

Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Ways Reeves Nelson Impacts the Lakers in 2012-13

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    Former UCLA forward Reeves Nelson went undrafted in June after a Sports Illustrated story painted Reeves as a serious problem off the court. 

    The story singled out Nelson for his poor behavior, which allegedly included urinating on a teammate's clothes and getting into altercations with teammates. 

    Nelson has since filed a defamation lawsuit against Sports Illustrated for $10 million. 

    After being dismissed from UCLA last December, a career in the NBA looked bleak for the former Bruins star. 

    That is, until the Los Angeles Lakers invited Nelson to their training camp in October. 

    After playing in the Summer League for the Lakers, Nelson was offered a non-guaranteed one-year contract, potentially worth $700,000. 

    Nelson may be a long shot to make the team, but being dismissed from UCLA and going undrafted, he must find this opportunity a blessing. 

    If Reeves Nelson can show the Lakers' coaching staff that he is a special talent, here are some ways Nelson can impact the 2012-13 Lakers. 

1. Role Player

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    With the likes of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and Metta World Peace, Reeves Nelson's role won't be huge to this Lakers squad. 

    If he can make this roster, Nelson will be a role player off the bench who will play a small amount of minutes similar to Jordan Hill last year. 

    He won't be expected to take many shots, so how he can make a contribution will be through his rebounding ability and hustle. 

    He will need to do the small things for this team by being scrappy and playing with a level of high energy off the bench.

    Nelson won't be given many minutes, so he must make the best out of the minutes by contributing in any way when his number is called. 

2. Youth

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    Soon to be 21, Reeves Nelson is still a very young player who will add some youth to this veteran Lakers squad. 

    Of course there will be growing pains in the NBA for Nelson, but practicing and playing alongside Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, who both have brilliant basketball IQ, will make him a better player. 

    Playing alongside the veterans on this team will also help Nelson polish his game, understand the game more and even develop his maturity in the NBA. 

    By developing him now, the Lakers can help him gain experience and plan for the future.

3. Competition

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    By putting Nelson on the roster, it increases the level of competition at the forward position. 

    Behind Metta World Peace at the small forward position is young Devin Ebanks. The addition of Nelson will at the very least offer some competition for the backup job. 

    The level of competition will be huge for the Lakers, because even if Nelson doesn't make the roster, he could make Ebanks work that much harder in order to secure his own job.

4. Physical Play

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    At 6'8" and and 235 pounds, Nelson is unafraid to crash the boards and play the game with some physicality. 

    After Jordan Hill, the Lakers do not have much of a young physical presence on the bench. 

    Off the bench, Nelson can be the change-of-pace guy who will play with a high level of intensity and scrappiness that every team needs. 

    Reeves is a hard worker who does not shy away from contact. In the paint, he could score and rebound, as he led the UCLA Bruins with 13.9 points and 9.1 rebounds in 2010-11.

    The Lakers really don't have that physical edge off the bench, so Nelson can help fill that void in limited minutes, as well as once Metta World Peace moves on. 

5. Audition for the Future

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    At the very least, the Lakers are at a point where they're more or less auditioning young small forwards to see who can play behind Metta World Peace and potentially replace him when the time comes.

    An All-Pac-10 first team after his sophomore year for the Bruins, Nelson averaged 12.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 27 minutes. 

    Now, no one expects Nelson to be the starting forward of the Lakers in the near future, but if added to the roster, this season can prove to be an audition for Nelson. It will give the Lakers a chance to see if they would want to keep Nelson as a part of their long-term plans. 

    A member of the Lakers' 2012 Summer League team, he averaged 4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 16.3 minutes. 

    At the very least, adding Nelson lets the Lakers explore their options at the small forward position for the long term.