Lakers Sign Josh McRoberts

The Lakers signed free agent forward Josh McRoberts to help the frontcourt heading into 2011-12.

OFFICIAL LAKERS PRESS RELEASE:
Los Angeles Lakers have signed 6-10 free agent forward Josh McRoberts, it was announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released.

McRoberts, a four-year NBA veteran, averaged career-highs in points (7.4), rebounds (5.3) and assists (2.1) while appearing in 72 games (51 starts) with the Indiana Pacers last season. In 155 career NBA games (54 starts), McRoberts is averaging 5.2 points on .525 shooting from the field, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 15.7 minutes.

An early entry candidate for the 2007 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at Duke, McRoberts was originally selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the seventh pick in the second round (37th overall) before being traded to the Pacers following his rookie year.

Recruited to Duke by Hall-of-Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, McRoberts, the 2005 Morgan Wooten Award winner as McDonald’s High School All-American Player of the Year, was named to the All-ACC Freshman Team in 2006, the All-ACC Second Team in 2007 and became just the second Blue Devil in school history to be named team captain as a sophomore.

MORE ON MCROBERTS:
A first glance at Josh McRoberts, he of the nasty dunks (via the Orange County Register's Kevin Ding) and solid numbers in limited minutes, suggest that he's capable of lifting the Lakers when he checks in off Mike Brown's bench.

A closer look reveals that he's among the league's more efficient players, thanks to a TS% of .608 in 2010-11, good for 19th in the NBA. In fact, only 25 NBA players checked in above .600, with Andrew Bynum (.606) ranking right behind McBobs. He got there by hitting 54.5% of his field goals, 38.3% of his threes (though he took only 60) and 73.9% of his free throws.
*True shooting percentage, as compiled here by ESPN's John Hollinger, measures a player's FG% while accounting for three-pointer and free throws.

Finishing strong at the rim in transition is a particular strength, as are put-back buckets from the weak side, as McRoberts is unlikely to receive post up opportunities on the strong side particularly on a team that features Bynum, Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant. He'll be asked to hit an open jumper from the wing, which is something he'll need to improve from last season. And here's where we realize that one reason he's so efficient is that most of his shots come at the rim.

In fact, according to Hoopdata.com, of the 5.4 field goal attempts McRoberts took per game last year, nearly half (2.8) came at the bucket, where he converted at a 68.8 percent clip. As such, he took very few shots from anywhere else on the floor, less than one per game at four other distances.

Roughly 0.7 percent attempts came from 3-9 feet (41.7% FG's), 0.3 came from 10-15 feet (30%), 0.8 from 16-23 feet (40%) and 0.8 from three (57.5% eFG*). Other than from three, the other percentages are nothing about which to write home, even if the attempts are so few that it's tough to draw too much from.
*According to Kevin Pelton at Basketball Prospectus, eFG% "adds an extra .5 field goal for three-pointers, so they're valued the same as in TS%, but the stat doesn't include free throws."

Regardless, the bulk of his production in L.A. should come as a result of using his athleticism and size to clean up the glass or get out on the break and finish. McRoberts won't be asked to create offense off the dribble or initate too much from the wing (we'll see how that midrange jumper looks when he arrives) but instead try to compliment the best Lakers however Brown directs him to do so.

Related: McRoberts speaks with media after Wednesday's practice.