After designating the power forwards in our last piece as Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle, and Ryan Kelly, we move to our next post position with the centers. The big men left on the roster are Jordan Hill, Ed Davis, and Robert Sacre, who will take up a large majority of the minutes at the five spot.
After a bit of a breakout season last year, Hill was rewarded with a massive pay raise, netting a 2-year, $18 million contract this summer. While many contend the contract will be used more as trade bait given it’s massive size and the team option for the second season, it doesn’t change the fact that this is a big season for Hill. The University of Arizona product had a hard time last season maintaining his high level of energy when given starter minutes last season. Considering he will be starting this season, it’ll be a necessity to remain consistent over the long haul.
In nearly opposite circumstances, Davis came to the Lakers this season on a big discount. Fresh off his rookie contract earning him $3.1 million last year, Davis came to LA at the veteran’s minimum. Davis brings a long frame and some experience with him and will likely be the first center off the bench. However, given the Lakers’ surplus of big men, he’ll likely be the third option at center behind both Hill and Boozer.
The last center on the roster is fan favorite Robert Sacre. Seeing 16.8 minutes a game, the big man put up 5.4 points and 3.8 rebounds a game, vast improvements from his rookie season. Still, it wasn’t enough for the Lakers to rely on him as the second option alone, which is a better barometer of his output last season.
In former coach Mike D’Antoni‘s offense, it was well-documented that he was not a fan of multiple big men on the court at once. At best, he would employ a stretch four with a mobile big man, typically Kelly and Pau Gasol. Under Byron Scott, the Lakers will likely put a more traditional line-up on the floor. Think back to Scott’s time in New Orleans, when he excelled with both David West and Tyson Chandler.
Similarly, Scott could excel with Boozer-Hill, Boozer-Davis, Randle-Hill, and Randle-Davis lineups. In fact, you could even see Hill at power forward and Davis at center. Considering where the Lakers have the most depth, bigger lineups will be better this season. The majority of the center minutes will be split between the trio of Hill, Davis, and Boozer.
The final stat lines for the centers:
Hill – 25 minutes, 13 points, 10 rebounds, 1.5 blocks
Davis – 18 minutes, 9 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block
Sacre – 10 minutes, 5 points, 5 rebounds