Devin Ebanks: Does the LA Lakers Youngster Deserve an Expanded Role?

Imaz A@@imazatharCorrespondent IIAugust 2, 2011

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 07:  Devin Ebanks #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the NBA Europe Live match between Los Angeles Lakers and Regal FC Barcelona at the at Palau Blaugrana on October 7, 2010 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers’ dream of winning a third championship in a row turned into a nightmare in the 2011 NBA Playoffs.—a nightmare that displayed the teams’ many faults. 

Two of the Lakers’ primary faults were their lack of motivation and their old age, which dramatically hindered their success.

The terrifying nightmare ended when the Lakers were embarrassingly swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round and fans and analysts realized that it was time for the Lakers to make a change. 

The organization has already hired a new coach, Mike Brown. However, the Lakers must realize that their problems transcend hired leadership and must infuse younger energy into the lineup. 

Devin Ebanks is just one player on the Lakers’ roster who can help pave the way for the organization’s future. 

In the 2010-2011 season, Ebanks played in only 20 games, averaging less than six minutes during each outing and most of those minutes came during garbage time. 

However, during that small amount of playing time Ebanks it was clear that the young player possessed athleticism, energy and a desire to be on the court. That’s exactly what the Lakers need more of.

At 6’9” and 215 lbs, Ebanks was an exceptional small forward for the West Virginia Mountaineers. He could score, but he could also rebound, averaging eight per game. In addition, Ebanks had drive as well as the confidence to defend both smaller players and bigger post players.

Ebanks can easily translate that skill set to be what the Lakers desperately need with the help of aging forwards, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest, both of whom Ebanks has a good relationship with. They can mentor Ebanks and teach him the intricacies of the NBA game.

Questions have arisen about Ebanks’ ability to shoot the ball. While those questions are valid, there is no doubt that Ebanks top priority is to improve his shot.

Much like Trevor Ariza—the former Laker who Ebanks is often compared to—Ebanks can improve his outside shot to become a better all around player. Ebanks showed some signs of improvement in his minimal playing time, shooting 40 percent from the three point line.

For the Lakers, it is no longer a question of whether Ebanks deserves an expanded role on the team—Ebanks needs an expanded role.

The Lakers are getting old, especially at the small forward position. Lamar Odom, who sometimes plays small forward, Ron Artest, Matt Barnes and the injury prone Luke Walton are all 31 years old.

In order for the Lakers to thrive in the future the Lakers need to get younger. Thus, Ebanks needs to play in the NBA—now.