When Josh McRoberts arrived last fall, it seemed like a good fit. Young and athletic with decent ball skills, and his career appeared to be on an upward trajectory after a mini-breakout campaign with the Pacers in 2010-11. The Lakers needed bodies behind Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol -- particularly with the departure of Lamar Odom -- and for a reasonable $3 million, McRoberts made sense.
Initially, at least, returns were solid. Starting the first four games of the year in place of a suspended Bynum, McRoberts quickly grew into a fan favorite for his hustle and ability to finish on the break. "McLob" became a common hashtag on Twitter during Lakers games. "It was a lot of fun," he said. "It was a new experience coming here and getting an opportunity to play right away. It was kind of a whirlwind."
Unfortunately, it didn't last long. In early January McRoberts injured the big toe on his left foot, and from there everything about his season grew totally inconsistent. He fell out of the rotation entirely, found himself back in, then back on the bench when Mike Brown went to Jordan Hill, who basically out-McRoberts-ed McRoberts.
Though he never caused a stir, I know from conversations throughout the year the lack of rhythm and consistency in his minutes was frustrating, as it would be for any player. "I would have loved to be out there. I would have done everything I could to try to help where we needed help," McRoberts said Wednesday in El Segundo.
Now McRoberts, entering the second of a two-year deal with the Lakers, faces a significant season in 2012-13, not only in regards to his future in L.A. (assuming there is one). "It's not something I'm going to lose sleep over, because I know I'm going to put in the work to get to where I need to be and to have the opportunity to show what I can do," he said, "but I definitely understand it's going to be a big year for me, career wise."
(Click below for video from McRoberts' exit interview)
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