Breaking Down What Marcus Landry Will Bring to Lakers in Mike D'Antoni's Offense
Los Angeles Lakers fans, rejoice. There's a Landry on the roster now.
According to the Lakers' Twitter feed, Marcus is officially on board.
The Los Angeles Daily News' Mark Medina has a little more information for us, explaining that the contract is a one-year, non-guaranteed deal for the veteran's minimum.
Marcus Landry's contract w/ Lakers is non-guaranteed, his agent Keith Kreiter told me. Deal is for 1 year at vet minimum ($788,000)— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) September 17, 2013
As reported by the official site of the Lakers, Landry has spent the last three seasons suiting up for a laundry list of teams. He's played professional ball in Spain, China, Venezuela and Puerto Rico, and he's also bounced between the Maine Red Claws and Reno Bighorns in the NBA D-League.
He found the most success with the Bighorns: averaging 16.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game over the course of 84 appearances. But now it's time to take it up a notch.
He's trying to make an NBA roster, and the Lakers are giving him a chance. Fortunately, there are a few skills that he brings to the team, especially while playing a part in the famed Mike D'Antoni offense.
First, Let's Temper the Expectations
Before anyone gets too excited, let's remember that Landry isn't actually guaranteed to play for the Lakers.
His contract literally isn't guaranteed, and he might not even be part of the active 12-man roster. In order to make that cut, he'll have to exceed the expectations rather significantly during training camp.
Landry can capably play either small forward (his primary position) or an undersized power forward, and L.A. already has multiple players at both of those spots in the lineup. Nick Young, Wes Johnson and Shawne Williams will all be ahead of him at the 3, and he'll have to break past Pau Gasol, Ryan Kelly or Elias Harris to work into the power forward rotation.
Quite frankly, that isn't going to happen anytime soon. He stands a chance at beating out Kelly and Harris, but L.A. is more invested in the first of the two stretch-4s (and yes, that's what the team should be hoping Harris develops into).
If Landry earns playing time, it'll be because a rash of injuries have hit Hollywood, forcing multiple forwards out of the lineup. The D-League standout's defense is good, but it's neither stellar nor versatile enough for him to earn consistent playing time otherwise.
So, let's just keep that in mind when analyzing what Landry could bring to the Mike D'Antoni offense. If he gets on the court, he'll make an impact, but that's a tough proposition.
Shooting in Transition
We really don't have much data to work with, as Landry has played in only 18 NBA games since leaving Wisconsin behind. Seventeen of them came with the New York Knicks, and that provides us with a sample size that isn't inordinately small. It's still very small, but at least we can glean a bit of information from it.
According to Synergy Sports (subscription required), Landry produced 0.93 points per possession, and he did so in a variety of ways. He was a solid isolation player, but the strongest aspect of his game (other than the fluky but literal perfection on hand-offs) was his spot-up shooting.
Landry hit seven of his 18 attempts from the field, including a 6-of-16 performance from beyond the arc. And that's where he'll end up thriving whenever he gets to play.
The D'Antoni system is built on speed and quick shots. Trailing three-pointers in transition are quite common, and that's what Landry brings to the table above all else.
It's pretty clear that he's retained his shooting stroke over the years.
Landry doesn't just have a nice-looking shot, though. He runs the court well, finding open spots and setting his feet in an instant. That allows him to get his shots off quickly and drill attempts in the face of oncoming defenders.
Again, it all adds up to the ideal trailing three-point marksman in transition.
You can see a sneak preview by watching that embedded GIF, one that showcases this talent in the D-League against the Santa Cruz Warriors.
Whenever he finds himself on the court, this will inevitably be Landry's primary role. He'll specialize in sneaky plays that allow the ball-handler to make an easy dump pass for three points.
A Bit of Strength on the Interior
Fortunately, Landry does have one other marketable strength.
That would be, well, his strength.
He's not an imposing player in the post, but his core is strong enough that he can get to the rim and finish through contact, especially when playing in transition. It would be nice to see him develop more post moves, but after not even putting his back to the basket once during his brief NBA stint and then subsequently failing to establish many moves in the D-League, that seems like wishful thinking.
Toughness must run in the family, though, as his brother Carl has made a living out of bullying people with his muscular presence.
Additionally, Landry is a surprisingly deft finisher around the basket and can occasionally showcase his athleticism.
You can see both of those traits displayed in the video up above. That first reverse layup shows off the touch, and you can see him elevate quickly in the second play.
Synergy shows that during his one year in the NBA, Landry finished a play with a cut to the basket off the ball only once. And he scored. That's obviously unsustainable production, but it wouldn't surprise me at all to see him become a solid slasher, especially given the constant threat of his three-point shooting.
Landry has an opportunity now, and he's greatly aided by the inherent fit of his game with the D'Antoni offense. If he can play solid defense while catching fire from beyond the arc in training camp and preseason action, he'll have a shot to make the 15-man roster and play sparing minutes when injuries afford him that opportunity.
Between his finishing skills, strength and deadly accuracy from downtown, he's a poor man's version of the ideal sharpshooter that the head coach looks for.
The NBA is all about opportunity for lower-level players, and Landry is getting one.
Now it's up to him to seize it.
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