Sometimes it takes awhile for new players to weave themselves in through the fabric of a team’s system. Sometimes adding new faces can dramatically affect a group’s dynamic (and not always in a good way). Then there are other times when a new set of tendencies and attitudes come in, observe for a minute and before you know it, it’s as if they’d been there the whole time.
For veterans Steve Blake, Matt Barnes and Theo Ratliff, not to mention rookies, Devin Ebanks and Derrick Caracter, getting handpicked to join the two-time NBA championship Lakers is pressure enough. Trying to learn the nuances of the triangle offense and then having to execute it come game time is a whole other challenge. In the seventh game of the pre-season, however, the newcomers not only appear ready to start defending the team’s NBA title, they’ve started to play like it.
54 points on 24-36 (4-7 from 3-point land), 20 assists, 11 rebounds, seven steals and five blocks – This is the stat line for the Lakers bench filled with new players, and that was with Lamar Odom, not to mention Sasha Vujacic, both in the starting line-up.