Los Angeles Lakers Players Who Should Be Getting More Minutes

Ehran Khan@@ekhansworldContributor IIINovember 28, 2014

Ed Davis and Wayne Ellington are deserving of some extra minutes in Byron Scott's rotation.
Ed Davis and Wayne Ellington are deserving of some extra minutes in Byron Scott's rotation.Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

Ed Davis and Wayne Ellington have been two of the few bright spots in this dark season for the Los Angeles Lakers—and both deserve a bump in playing time.

The Lakers are struggling to find guys who can make positive contributions on the floor. The team sports the league's worst defense and third-worst nightly point differential after facing the NBA's toughest slate through the first 15 games.

Davis is quickly turning into the steal of the offseason for L.A. The fifth-year pro was an afterthought this summer despite being a 25-year-old former lottery pick who has always been productive on the court.

He's been given a chance to shine with the Lakers, playing more minutes than any other non-starter on the squad, and he's taken advantage.

The University of North Carolina product leads the team in blocks, defensive rebounding percentage and win shares per 48 minutes.

Davis has been L.A.'s sole rim protector.
Davis has been L.A.'s sole rim protector.Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Thus far, he's proven to be the only member of the Lakers with the capability of playing any defense at all—he's the sole player with a positive mark in defensive win shares.

According to NBA.com's nifty player tracking data, Davis has been particularly stingy where it matters most—near the rim.

When he is guarding the shooter within six feet of the hoop, that player shoots 8.2 percent worse than his average.

His offensive game has been effective, too. Davis isn't a guy who you throw it to on the block and let go to work, but he's a tremendous finisher who sticks to his strengths.

He doesn't try to incorporate any superfluous elements into his game. A lot of young bigs like to think they have a burgeoning jump shot and fire away when defenses leave them alone 15-plus feet away from the basket.

As Jalen Rose likes to say, "You're open for a reason."

Davis doesn't heave up bricks just for kicks. If he's out of his comfort zone, he'll move the ball along and set a quick screen to follow it up, allowing him to roll to the rim and be in position to do what he does best—finish.

Davis' length and explosion allow him to be an excellent finisher around the hoop.
Davis' length and explosion allow him to be an excellent finisher around the hoop.Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

He's shooting a career-best 61.4 percent from the field, and two-thirds of his attempts have come within three feet of the goal, per Basketball-Reference.com.

The Lakers' best five-man lineup includes Davis. When he takes Jordan Hill's place among the starters, that group is outscoring opponents by a ludicrous 35.9 points per 100 possessions—the sixth-best figure for any five-man unit in the league.

Obviously, the sample size is small, but Davis needs an increased role to determine whether the trend is for real. Overall, L.A. is 14.7 points per 100 possessions better any time Davis steps on the court.

Ellington has also made a strong case for more burn coming off the bench. Despite dealing with the tragedy of his father's death, Ellington has played well enough to deserve a longer look from Byron Scott.

The Lakers are in desperate need of outside shooting, and Ellington can provide just that.

So far, he's shot better than 52 percent from the field—a career high—and has been absolutely lights out coming off curls for long two-point jump shots.

Wayne Ellington has been knocking down outside jumpers at a prolific rate so far.
Wayne Ellington has been knocking down outside jumpers at a prolific rate so far.Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

The veteran wing is third in the NBA in catch-and-shoot field-goal percentage, per NBA.com, and he's second in field-goal percentage on shots between 16 and 24 feet among players who attempt as many such shots as he does.

He still hasn't quite found the range on his three-point stroke. His 34.8 percent accuracy from deep is well below his career mark, but it should rise to its normal level over time. When it does, he'll be an even bigger threat that opposing defenses will have to account for at all times.

Ellington carries the highest offensive rating of any Laker at the moment, and the team is actually outscoring the opposition when he's on the floor.

The Lakers are short on scoring options when Kobe Bryant hits the bench. Ellington can help pick up the slack in that department. 

He's a very similar player to Jodie Meeks, who blossomed last year when called upon for more output. The Lakers should see if Ellington can step up in a similar manner.

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