Devin Ebanks Can Help the Lakers, But Beware of Derrick's Caracter

Hadarii JonesSenior Writer IJune 26, 2010

SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 18:  Forward Derrick Caracter #4 of the UTEP Miners reacts to a play against the Butler Bulldogs during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at HP Pavilion on March 18, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

I didn't think the Los Angeles Lakers would find much value in their draft picks which stood at No.'s 43 and 58 of the second round, but I must admit both selections hold a certain degree of intrigue.

Some people have compared Devin Ebanks, the Lakers' selection at No. 43, to former Laker Trevor Ariza, and the similarity definitely exists from an athletic point of view.

Ebanks, at 6'7", has the ability to help the Lakers immediately on the defensive end of the floor and having New York natives Ron Artest and Lamar Odom on the roster certainly doesn't hurt.

Ebanks was one of the better prep players to come out of the New York City area in 2007, and although he never quite lived up to his phenom billing at West Virginia he did display some potential.

Coach Bob Huggins took advantage of Ebanks' perimeter ball-handling skills by making him the point of emphasis on offense when West Virginia found themselves engaged in tight contests.

It was usually Ebanks' number that was called when the Mountaineers needed a basket, and he was probably West Virginia's best one-on-one offensive player.

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Ebanks was adept at creating scoring opportunities off the dribble, but he never took the time to develop his jump shot, which is often the case with today's younger breed of players.

It's a good thing for Ebanks and the Lakers that his offense will not be much of a concern, but Ebanks' long arms, superior athleticism, and lateral quickness means he will get a chance to play as soon as he proves he can defend in the NBA.

Defense was the most impressive part of Ebanks' game at West Virginia, and he should get a chance to improve in that aspect playing behind a defensive specialist like Artest.

Like Ebanks, former Louisville and Texas-El Paso star Derrick Caracter has a chance to make an immediate impact for the Lakers, but his resume comes attached with many more questions.

The only consistent part of Caracter's nature seems to be the inability to control his weight, because even though few people question his talent, Caracter's drive and commitment are another issue.

The 6'9" Caracter was once compared to Charles Barkley by Rick Pitino while he was at Louisville, but Pitino also said Caracter was a huge thorn in his side by the time he transferred to UTEP.

Caracter's brief career has been dogged by questions about his weight, character, and integrity, and this was something which began when he attended three different high schools as a prep player.

Authority figures have always been a problem for Caracter, and his attitude has been discussed as much as his wide frame and his ability to gobble up rebounds in the paint.

During his final year at UTEP Caracter averaged 14.1 points per game and 8.1 rebounds, and he could provide help to a Lakers frontline which is facing uncertainty due to Andrew Bynum's constant knee issues.

Caracter's talent has never been a question, as he was one of the most sought after college recruits in Big East history, but at this level he has to prove that all the hype was merited.

If Caracter can find his motivation and Ebanks develops, the Lakers could actually come out of this draft with two of the better sleepers in the entire 2010 NBA draft.

But it's Caracter's past that makes me feel Ebanks may be the only one of the two who actually finds himself donning the purple and gold when the Lakers tip off this fall.

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