NBA Free Agents: 2011 Josh McRoberts Will Make Lakers Forget Lamar Odom

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2011

PHOENIX - DECEMBER 03:  Josh McRoberts #32 of the Indiana Pacers during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 3, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers made a puzzling decision to trade Lamar Odom earlier this week that left Kobe Bryant furious, but life moves on and teams have to make decisions they feel are in their best interest. Now, they are trying to get back in the swing of things by signing Josh McRoberts.

I think that this is a terrific, underrated signing that can bring disillusioned Lakers fans and Kobe Bryant back from the brink. 

McRoberts is not going to put up the same numbers that Odom did last season—14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds per game—but he can give the team the production that they need in order to be competitive in the Western Conference. In fact, I think that McRoberts' numbers will actually improve with the Lakers. He was only giving Indiana seven points and five rebounds per game, but he had no one surrounding him that was capable of helping him out. 

Going to Los Angeles will be a huge boon to McRoberts' career because he is going to have enough top-level players around him that he will be able to make a difference with this team in his role, whether it is starting or coming off the bench. 

I think that McRoberts is better served as a bench player than a starter, which would work out well for the Lakers because they need more depth and young legs to get them through the long season and all the back-to-back-to-back games they will have to play this season. 

There will be an adjustment period with McRoberts, but he has the talent and athleticism to give the Lakers what they need from the power forward position. He doesn't have to be a difference-maker on this team, which will only help him become a better player. 

The Lakers may have done wrong by Odom with the way that they handled him and eventually shipped him out of town, but signing McRoberts should take some of the sting away from losing the Sixth Man of the Year.