Laker’s coach, Phil Jackson, is known for not playing rookies, but this upcoming season might be an exception as the Lakers have found two absolute gems in the second round of this years NBA draft.
With the 43rd overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, the Lakers selected 6’ 9, 215-pound forward Devin Ebanks out of West Virginia. The pick was followed by the selection of Derrick Caracter out of UTEP with the 58th overall choice in the draft.
Devin Ebanks averaged 12.0 points and 8.1 rebounds in his final year with West Virginia leading them to their first Final Four appearance since 1951.
Derrick Caracter averaged 14.1 points and 8.1 rebounds a game while shooting 56.7% from the field, the second-best percentage during league play.
The second round draft picks turned some heads this summer as they were on display in the NBA summer league in Las Vegas. Laker’s coaches and NBA scouts were very impressed with their play and instantly called them two of the biggest steals in this years draft.
Here’s what we’ve learned about them so far…
Devin Ebanks has shown that he was a very athletic and great defensive player in college and now he is proving it when up against NBA competition. His athleticism and defensive skill along with his long 6’ 9 frame has drawn immediate comparisons to former Laker Trevor Ariza.
The comparison seems very appropriate as he’s shown the ability to pick pocket NBA payers such as Denver Nugget Coby Karl and take him coast-to-coast for the lay-up and the foul. He has also managed to shutdown the opponent’s go-to offensive player in the case of players like Donte Green and the Sacramento Kings’ Omri Casspi.
His ability to rebound has also been a big plus, but like Ariza coming out of college, Ebanks too will need to improve his offensive game, specifically his mid-range to three-point range shooting. Overall, expect Ebanks to be almost an exact replica of Trevor Ariza or maybe even a slightly better version, as he has shown to have a more seasoned offensive game and a larger body frame than Ariza showed coming out of college.
There were concerns that Derrick Caracter would be more of an enigma than a basketball player causing him to drop down to the 58th pick in the draft. The Lakers rolled the dice and took a chance on his first round talent and boy is it paying off.
The 6’ 9, 300-pound power forward has begun his quest to make the Laker’s roster with an impressive summer league performance. Caracter averaged 15.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks during the summer pro league while outplaying draft lottery picks Greg Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins.
Though undersized, Caracter has shown polished offensive skills and a toughness that cannot be taught. As for the character issues, Caracter has shown the contrary, demonstrating a laser-like focus and a dedication for the game as he has already dropped from an overweight 300-pound body frame to a leaner 277-pounds and plans to drop to 270 by the time training camp starts in September. His willingness to bang bodies on the inside has drawn comparisons to the Celtics’ Glen “Baby” Davis, but watching Caracter play, he clearly is more talented than Davis. With more work on his already impressive offensive game and footwork, I see him resembling David West from the New Orleans Hornets.
With Jordan Farmar gone and Shannon Brown still in question, the Lakers will need to replace their young, flashy and energetic play off the bench. Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter are proving they can fit the bill.