Los Angeles Lakers rookie forwards Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter are set to begin their first NBA training camp, and both hold hopes of making the team's final roster.
Most observers feel both players could benefit from a stint in the NBDL, and even if they do make the regular season roster it's doubtful they will see much playing time due to Phil Jackson's low tolerance level for rookies.
Caracter and Ebanks have qualities that could prove to be useful to the Lakers in their quest for a three-peat, but which player is better suited to help Los Angeles right now?
Both players stand 6'9", but that is about the only physical similarity Ebanks and Caracter share.
Caracter is the second heaviest player on the Lakers' team, at 265 pounds, and he has a frame that was made to do battle in the interior.
Caracter has drawn comparisons to Charles Barkley due to his rebounding ability and tendency to eat up space in the paint, and despite his weight, Caracter has shown great footwork in the post.
Ebanks is much more comfortable on the perimeter, but he is versatile enough to defend in the post, and the type of player who is capable of impacting the game from multiple areas.
Ebanks is already an above-average defender, and he is aslo capable of getting his own shot off the dribble. There were questions about his perimeter offensive game, but during the NBA's summer league, Ebanks demonstrated he had a decent jumper.
The real trick for Ebanks and Caracter if they make the final roster is finding playing time on a team that is stacked at nearly every position.
It's hard to picture Caracter garnering many minutes behind a group that includes Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and Theo Ratliff.
It's equally difficult to picture Ebanks stealing to many minutes away from Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Matt Barnes and Shannon Brown.
Ebanks would seem the more likely candidate to receive the bulk of rookie minutes because his game is a little more polished than Caracter's and his value is increased due to his versatility.
Ebanks can play either the shooting guard or small forward position, and he may even be able to play power forward for short stints.
The fact Ebanks is a more accomplished defender resonates also, because the strength of the Lakers' team will once again lie on the defensive end of the court.
It never hurts to have an extra long, and rangy player like Ebanks, and if he does see any significant minutes it will be because of his defensive abilities.
Caracter is a decent defender, but he is not strong enough defensively in the post to justify much playing time compared to the players who are in front of him.
The Lakers could use his rebounding talents, but that's not imperative considering Los Angeles was the NBA's second-best rebounding team last regular season, and the top rebounding team in the playoffs.
If Caracter makes the roster he will likely be relegated to mop-up duty, unless he shows something in training camp that makes it impossible to exclude him from the rotation.
That's a highly doubtful proposition, so my money would be on Ebanks to garner the more significant minutes because he has the potential to help the Lakers immediately.
The Lakers were lucky to get two players with a such a large upside in the second round of this summer's NBA draft, but Ebanks seems to be the one who will get the chance to prove his value first.