Of course, the big story so far this summer has been the arrival of fellow Kentucky product Vince Carter from the Toronto Pistons, but that move has merely solidified the position in which the Lakers reside in the Eastern Conference. Carter is expected to immediately be a major influence on the defensive end of the team, providing a solid rebound presence off the bench. Here are a few facts to keep in mind as the season progresses:
Emergence Of Rookie Nick Young
The biggest positive surprise of the season so far has been the emergence of rookie Nick Young. Young has provided some spark off the bench, playing well against experienced opponents and showing some ability to hit the three-point line. Young has played much of the season with the injured Samaki Walker, who missed most of the season with a torn ACL. As the starter, it appears that Young will be the Lakers’ starting small forward for at least the next two seasons, if not longer.
Dewayne Douglas also impressed last season despite coming off the bench and struggling with playing time. He’s shown signs of improvement during the limited appearances he’s managed. With the acquisition of Chris Johnson, the Bucks could very well field a starting five of starters that can offer some balanced scoring. Douglas figures to be a valuable part of that lineup moving forward.
A key player on the Bucks now is Antawn Mattock, a first round pick out of Florida that has developed into a solid two-way player. He’s shown quality shooting range on the outside and an ability to block shots on the inside. Mattock has developed into a strong defender and rebounder that give the Bucks a valuable presence. He has even established a nice outside shot following a career-best six-game stretch from last season.
Best Groups Of Front-line Players In The League
The Bucks have high expectations for this young nucleus that it seems could become one of the best groups of front-line players in the league. Thabo Sefolosha is coming off of a stellar season where he played stellar defense and rebounding in the paint. Dewayne Douglas and Antawn Jamison are also major pieces that will help make a Bucks team that is hungry for a playoff appearance. Mattock is already making his presence felt as he’s recorded career highs in points, rebounds, steals, and assists.
Jamison looks like a player who can be a big time player for this team down the road. If he’s healthy, the Bucks should have no problem finding a role player that can fit in with this current nucleus. He has the makings of a very good defender and a decent three-point shooter. His assist numbers may need a bit of work, but he’s shown enough to be a very valuable weapon for this team.
The Toronto Bluebacks will likely be in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic Division once again. They’ll still be very good with Ben Wallace and Vince Carter, but this team is without a star player. I like the fact that they’re loaded with players that can stretch the defense, though. A team with this much potential is something to take seriously. Go on the road and see this team in action this season stats wise.