The Lakers held their annual Media Day on Monday in El Segundo, putting new stars Dwight Howard and Steve Nash in the same gym with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol for the first time. Still, they aren't quite done tinkering with the roster.
This afternoon, the team announced the signing of swingman Chris Douglas-Roberts, originally selected in the second round of the 2008 draft by New Jersey. He played two seasons with the Nets, then one in Milwaukee Bucks before joining Virtus Bologna before the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season.
The 25-year old University of Memphis product has career averages of 7.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 20.6 minutes over 155 NBA games, including 53 starts. In 2009-10, Douglas-Roberts set per game career highs in minutes (25.8), points (9.8), and rebounds (3.0).
Unlike some other recent signings -- I'm looking at you, Reeves Nelson, Ronnie Aguilar and Greg Somogyi -- this one can't simply be written off as a move to ensure Mike Brown has enough bodies to run a training camp. CDR has shown the ability to score in bunches at the NBA level. During his year in Milwaukee, an up and down affair to say the least, Douglas-Roberts twice put up 30 points. The season before in Jersey he had another 30-point game, plus a host of 20-plus nights.
Douglas-Roberts doesn't bring a host of other skills to the table, whether through rebounding or ball distribution. Nor has he ever been a threat from 3-point range. But he can get to the rim (half of his shot attempts in 2009-2010 with the Nets were at the basket) and finish once he's there. On the other hand, it's important to remember we're talking about someone whose playing time in Milwaukee grew sporadic because he couldn't beat out guys like John Salmons, Carlos Delfino and Keyon Dooling for minutes.
None of them scrubs, but not exactly All-Stars, either.
With the Lakers, CDR could at least theoretically find minutes behind Kobe at shooting guard, and compete for time with Devin Ebanks on the wing in relief of Metta World Peace. Despite the NBA experience, there isn't a natural fit on the roster for him on the roster. The Lakers have 13 players under contract for this season, not including this year's second-round draft picks, Darius Johnson-Odom and Robert Sacre, or Andrew Goudelock. None have guaranteed deals, but Johnson-Odom and Sacre both could make the team. The Lakers paid Dallas for the pick they used on Johnson-Odom, a solidly built guard with a solid defensive reputation, and Sacre could fill the need for a third center.
Douglas-Roberts is listed with the rest of the long shots in the preseason media guide as a "training camp invitee," and shouldn't hire a realtor.
Still, he has length and can score, two attributes that come in handy at the NBA level.
Spending a year away from the league affects different players in different ways. If that time ironed out some of his game's inconsistencies and rounded out his skill set, Douglas-Roberts could at least join the conversation at the potentially crowded back end of L.A.'s roster.