Josh McRoberts Signed by Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Reasons To Love the Signing

William Van NollFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2011

Josh McRoberts Signed by Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Reasons To Love the Signing

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    The Los Angeles Lakers signed free agent Josh McRoberts to a two-year, $6 million deal through their mini mid-level exception on Tuesday.

    No, the McRoberts signing and Tuesday's other moves (non-guaranteed contract to Gerald Green) were not the "big deals" Mitch Kupchak talked up the past few days.

    Still, this under-the-radar move by the Lakers' front office should serve the team quite well and gives Laker fans one more reason to be excited for the start of the season.

    Here are five reasons why.

Depth to Lakers Frontcourt

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    Lamar Odom is gone.

    Derrick Caracter has a torn meniscus.

    At 6'10", 240 pounds, Josh McRoberts, affectionately known as "McBob," gives much-needed depth to the Lakers' thin frontcourt.

    McRoberts can bang down low and get physical with opposing power forwards.

    With Metta World Peace and Luke Walton playing at PF in Lakers practices the past two days, it's clear that the Lakers have a glaring need down low and one that McRoberts can naturally address from day one.

Youth and Athleticism

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    The 24-year-old has really only played one full season in this league but has shown plenty of potential.

    McRoberts is transcendentally agile at 6'10'' and can run the floor. His vertical leap is something to behold—a YouTube highlight package can illustrate just that.

    The offensive focus of Lakers training camp the first five days has been implementing Mike Brown's attack-the-shot-clock system where the bigs (Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum) get down the court fast off a make or miss for easy looks before defenses can set up.

    McRoberts will fit perfectly in this capacity, able to fly down the court for a quick two or allow his frontcourt complements to do the same by securing the board and pushing the tempo.

    Heading into the NBA season, two big voids on the Lakers roster were youth and athleticism. McRoberts fills both these categories.

Defensive Abilities

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    To play on a Mike Brown team, you have to play defense.

    Without going overboard and proclaiming him an All-NBA defender, McRoberts is a hard worker, hustler, good on rotations and can make plays defensively.

    The Lakers aren't asking McRoberts to clog the middle; Andrew Bynum has that more than covered.

    What the Lakers do need from McRoberts down low is good off-the-ball help on opposing bigs, solid rotations and the ability to pound the glass defensively.

    Given his motor and work ethic, McRoberts should flourish in a Mike Brown defensive system.

Mid-Range Jumper

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    McBob is an effective mid-range shooter.

    One reason Mitch Kupchak went after Jason Kapono this offseason was to acquire a player who would make defenders pay for double-teaming Kobe Bryant, Pau and Drew.

    McRoberts, with good range and efficiency on his jumper, can do just that.

    He also has a fast-improving three-point shot, stretching defenses out at a 38 percent clip from downtown last season.

Trade Value

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    The NBA nixed the Lakers' trade for Chris Paul on the merit that it didn't provide enough youth to New Orleans.

    At 24 years old, McRoberts is only just beginning his NBA career and has plenty to offer a franchise going forward.

    Granted, the Lakers are restricted from trading him for three months, but he does possess solid trade value in a multi-player package should a blockbuster deal come later in the season.

    Regardless, I'm excited to see Josh McRoberts, Darius Morris, Devin Ebanks and Andrew Goudelock grow together and develop into core players for the Lakers over the next few years.

    Yes, we all want CP3 or Dwight Howard in L.A., but given McRoberts' upside and ability to contribute immediately, we should collect ourselves and appreciate what Mitch just did.

    Welcome to the squad, McBob.