Monday, January 9, 2012
Finding a backup shooting guard: Mike Brown on Andrew Goudelock
By Brian Kamenetzky
First things first: It's pronounced Gowd-lock.
"Goude" (rhymes with loud) "lock" (as pad, combination, or stone cold). It's really not that hard, and even understanding he's a rookie second-rounder from a little school, it's still a little mystifying nobody can get it right. Mike Brown tends toward Goo-dlock, but fluctuates among about 13 different pronunciations. I've heard it six ways to Sunday on television and radio, and even Lawrence Tanter, the NBA's best P.A. guy by leaps and bounds, can't quite settle on a delivery.
But according to a source close to the situation authorized to speak on the record (Andrew Goudelock), the correct one is described above.
It's worth committing to memory, because Goudelock, who saw a few minutes at the top of the season, might be getting a little more floor time over the next few games. The departure of Shannon Brown to Phoenix left the Lakers without any true backup to Kobe Bryant at the 2-guard spot. During camp, Mike Brown expressed confidence it could be filled with the guys on the roster (what else would he say?), and started veteran small forward Jason Kapono in the second preseason game while Kobe nursed his wrist injury. I was skeptical then, and with cause. It hasn't worked. The bench, inconsistent in most games and only more so with the diminished play of Metta World Peace, has suffered without the expected skill set a real guard brings.
"Offensively with the second unit, we haven't been able to play the way the way that I thought we would," Brown said. "I just felt the last couple of games I just wanted a guy that could go do something off the dribble."
Drafted as a shooter, that Goudelock would get on the floor as much because of his guard skills as proficiency from distance (though it's the 3-point range getting him PT over fellow rook Darius Morris) is an interesting twist. Sunday, he did a nice enough job in his near-10 minutes, twice using penetration to set up teammates for wide-open triples. Goudelock missed both his shots from the floor but generally played under control and limited his turnovers.
A decent contribution, particularly when measured against the typical expectations (first do no harm) for a low drafted first year player, but only reason for fans to keep their fingers crossed, not any real indication of future value.
More than anything, Goudelock's opportunity emphasizes the size of the hole in L.A.'s rotation, and the lack of choices available to fill it. Shannon Brown was hardly a perfect player, but was a credible option whether spelling Bryant or letting him get minutes at small forward. Now, in a season in which Brown is hoping to keep Bryant's load down in the 33-35 range, the Lakers might lean on a kid who, pedigree as collegiate scorer notwithstanding, wouldn't normally get this chance on a team with championship aspirations.
For the Lakers to thrive this year, a few things will have to break their way. Some examples: Andrew Bynum must stay healthy, and somehow Bryant's wrist has to hold up. Steve Blake has to sustain a reasonable level of play, and the Josh McRoberts/Troy Murphy combo behind Bynum and Pau Gasol has to provide stable production.
None require a leap of faith or acceptance of necessity as mother of invention like turning to Goudelock for a real role in the rotation.
If he can do it, the Lakers get a small but important step closer to their goal.