Don’t be surprised if the D-League standout capitalizes on this major opportunity and winds up becoming a fixture in the lineup for the remainder of this season, the playoffs and well beyond the 2013-13 campaign.
With the Black Mamba sidelined for six to nine months, the depth at the shooting guard position in L.A. looks extremely thin. Bryant was averaging 38.6 minutes per game this year, an absurd amount for a 33-year-old who has spent 17 years in the NBA.
Even more ridiculous, Bryant had been playing 45.2 minutes a night during a seven-game stretch that began on March 30 against the Kings and ended when his Achilles finally gave out on April 12.
Before the Goudelock signing, Jodie Meeks was the only healthy, serviceable off guard remaining, as Darius Morris spent most of his time in the D-League until being called up this past Thursday.
Starting PG Steve Nash is currently day-to-day dealing with a hip injury, making the backcourt in desperate need of a versatile talent who can seamlessly man both guard spots and soak up the extra minutes coach Mike D’Antoni now has to distribute.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see Goudelock earn a decent chunk of minutes right off the bat, as L.A. needs to see how its second-round pick in the 2011 draft has improved since he last played for the organization.
In 52 games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce and Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the 23-year-old averaged 21.1 points, 5.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 37.1 minutes.
He’s greatly improved upon his facilitating ability, as the prospect was widely regarded as a me-first scorer—dubbed “Mini Mamba” by Bryant himself—upon being selected No. 46 overall out of the College of Charleston.
Goudelock is capable of doing whatever the Lakers need of him. Whether its manning the 1 to spell Nash and Steve Blake (keeping the ineffective Chris Duhon off the court) and setting up the big men—as the only way this team is going to win a playoff series is with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol going off—or trying to spark the offense with volume scoring off the bench at the 2, this 6’3” guard is more than adequate.
Because of his youth, versatility and ability to stroke the three (36.3 percent shooting in the D-League, 37.3 percent in 2011-12 in limited NBA action), he’s the perfect guard for D’Antoni’s offense.
He’s also cheap, something that the L.A. brass will certainly consider when deciding who stays and who goes for the 2013-14 season. With the team so far into the luxury tax, a minimum contract guy like Goudelock is a major asset.
As long as he makes an impact during his short trial run that begins on Sunday, Goudelock should be able to find a permanent home on the Lakers roster.