Players on LA Lakers' Roster Bubble

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Players on LA Lakers' Roster Bubble
Elsa/Getty Images
Ryan Kelly may have been the Lakers' only draft pick in 2013, but he'll have to scratch and claw his way onto the team.

The Los Angeles Lakers come into the 2013-14 NBA season with 16 players on the roster—five of whom have either non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts. Those five players will duke it out for the final spots on the depth chart.

Depending on how many players L.A. wants to carry going into the new campaign, there could be as many as four slots up for grabs or as few as one (all teams must have at least 12 players on the roster).

Most likely the number will be in the middle, as the Lakers will probably want to reserve a spot or two for in-season pickups.

Here are the guys who will be fighting for jobs throughout Lakers camp and predictions for whether or not they will make the final cut.

 

Xavier Henry

Much like the Wesley Johnson signing, the Lakers are gambling nothing (a non-guaranteed minimum contract) to see if they can mine the talent that made Xavier Henry a lottery pick just three years ago.

The Kansas product has done absolutely nothing so far in his career. The 50 appearances he made last year were the most of his career but served as little more than glorified cameos.

Henry hasn't proven much of anything at the professional level. He's been a disaster offensively so far, unable to find a shooting stroke that works.

His 41 percent shooting from the floor was a career best. While a 36 percent conversion rate from deep looks alright, he attempted just eleven threes all season long.

Henry has posted negative offensive win shares every season of his career, and his PER has never even cracked double digits.

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Xavier Henry will have to prove he's a capable wing defender if he wants to stick on the roster.

The only positive in his game is his ability to draw fouls. Henry attempted more than half as many free throws as field goals, finishing with a better free-throw rate than Kevin Durant.

Unfortunately, his atrocious shooting from the foul line (63 percent) nullified the gains made by getting there in the first place.

Henry's potential looks to be limited. But if he can improve from abominable to substandard on offense and play tough defense on the wing, he could snag a coveted roster spot.

 

Prediction: Cut

 

Shawne Williams

Shawne Williams is the definition of a player on the bubble. 

He's played for four teams in his five NBA seasons and was out of the league altogether in 2010 and 2013.

The reason Williams has a partially guaranteed contract is because his most successful year as a pro came under Mike D'Antoni's tutelage in New York in 2011.

That season Williams hit 40 percent of his triples while attempting more than half of his field goals from deep. But that one year is the only instance of him being even a decent long-range weapon.

Although the Lakers need a stretch power forward and Williams has familiarity with—and even some success in—D'Antoni's system, there's a reason he wasn't on an NBA roster last season.

 

Prediction: Cut

 

Ryan Kelly

The other candidate for the stretch power forward role is Ryan Kelly.

The Lakers selected Kelly with their second-round pick in June's draft, envisioning a player who can space the floor without giving up too much size.

Kelly has both the size and the soft touch to fit the description. He's 6'11" and shot better than 40 percent from deep in each of his last two seasons at Duke.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Ryan Kelly has the potential to be an outstanding stretch-4 in the NBA.

Defense and rebounding will be an issue with Kelly. He wasn't a great rebounder in college, and his average wingspan really limits his length.

It's unlikely he will be able to guard big men well in the post either, as his thin frame suggests he will be outmuscled by more powerful forwards.

Injuries are his biggest issue though. Kelly missed significant time in his last two years at Duke and spent all summer rehabbing an injured foot.

Kelly's college pedigree and sweet shooting stroke should earn him a roster spot, but the Lakers sent a message by leaving his contract unguaranteed.

 

Prediction: Makes the team

 

Elias Harris

Undrafted rookie Elias Harris was inked to a partially guaranteed deal over the offseason.

The German national was a productive player in his four years at Gonzaga, shooting better than 50 percent each season.

Harris is a bit of a "tweener" at the pro level, though. He's a little undersized for a 4 but doesn't have the skills or quickness to hold up on the wing as a 3. The Lakers will want to evaluate him as a power forward.

He's not the type to stretch the floor though. Harris' outside shooting numbers in college were up and down, but the massive drop-off in his three-point efficiency last year is alarming. His strength is clearly catching around the basket and finishing strong.

Harris can be a great energy guy off the bench. He's a really good athlete with a motor who showed off his rebounding prowess in college.

There's always a spot on an NBA roster for a player of that mold.

 

Prediction: Makes the team

 

Marcus Landry

Marcus Landry's claim to fame is being Carl Landry's brother.

He's played a grand total of 111 minutes in the NBA—none since 2010. 

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Marcus Landry shot the lights out in the D-League last year. Will it translate to the NBA?

Landry was waived prior to the 2011 and 2012 seasons by the Sacramento Kings and Phoenix Suns respectively, so he's hoping that the third time is the charm with the Lakers.

Rather than going overseas, Landry has plied his trade in the D-League for the last three years, fashioning himself into a dangerous three-point gunner.

Last year, Landry connected on nearly 43 percent of his treys—seventh in the D-League—attempting a staggering 8.5 threes a game. In fact, Landry knocked down more threes per contest last season than Stephen Curry did.

The Lakers are in desperate need of shooting on the wing, and Landry has shown that he possesses that skill. There's been a complete overhaul of L.A.'s small forward position, so don't be surprised to see Landry get into games with the express purpose of letting it fly from long range.

 

Prediction: Makes the team

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