LOS ANGELES In the first game of last season, Phil Jackson did not play Sasha Vujacic at all. By the end of the Lakers’ NBA Finals run, Vujacic was regularly one of Jackson’s chosen five on the floor to finish games.
It was an altogether improbable jump, but Vujacic had made substantial improvements in his game – and the Lakers’ brass noticed. Vujacic got his big break with the trade of Maurice Evans 10 games into the season, making
Vujacic the backup shooting guard behind Kobe Bryant.
Vujacic did well enough in the limited time that he eventually earned those crunchtime minutes alongside Bryant.
That’s just how long the season is. You can start out a zero and wind up a hero – or at least a high-profile goat who can’t quite contain Boston’s Ray Allen. But Vujacic definitely had a breakthrough season and was rewarded with a fat new contract.
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