Josh McRoberts plans to bring same approach as reserve
The plays happened on a seemingly never-ending loop.
Josh McRoberts dove for loose balls. He helped out on weakside defense. He threw down alley-oop lobs. He provided instant energy.
Yet, the context in which McRoberts delivered those plays will change. Lakers center Andrew Bynum returns to the starting lineup Saturday against the Denver Nuggets after serving a four-game suspension, moving McRoberts from the starting power forward spot to the bench. But that doesn't mean those aforementioned plays have to remain a distant memory.
"I'm going to keep doing the same things I've been doing," McRoberts said. "That will be off the bench. Trust me, I'm the happiest guy here that Andrew is coming back. He's going to make it a lot easier on all us three big guys in there."
Lakers Coach Mike Brown didn't have an exact plan on how many minutes he will grant McRoberts as well as Troy Murphy after the two gave Pau Gasol some needed frontline depth during Bynum's absence. But with Brown's plan to play Gasol and Bynum around 34 minutes per game, it's safe to say McRoberts' playing time won't come near to the run he burned as a four-game starter. That entailed averaging six points on 44.4% shooting, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 25.8 minutes. Instead, the playing time might mirror the two points and three rebounds McRoberts averaged in 17 minutes through two preseason games.
Regardless, Brown doesn't expect McRoberts' game to change.
"He's here because of what you guys have seen," Brown said.
Besides, McRoberts already has some familiarity with the reserves. The lineup featuring Steve Blake, Jason Kapono, Metta World Peace, Troy Murphy and McRoberts played a total of 10 minutes through two games. Murphy and McRoberts played together with the Indiana Pacers during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. The basketball instincts that mostly define McRoberts' play remains interchangable on any unit. And receiving increased playing time in Bynum's absence immediately expedited the learning curve after signing with the team.
"I was just thrown into the fire I think where I had to pick things up fast," McRoberts said. "It was kind of sink or swim. These last few games, I've felt more comfortable picking things up and kind of learning as I go."
And just like McRoberts did in his first four games as a starter, he'll prove equally comfortable adapting to the second unit.
E-mail the Lakers blog at firstname.lastname@example.org