Tides are changing in the City of Angels as the Los Angeles Lakers are facing a future that would have seemed like a nightmare just a year ago.
After the departure of Dwight Howard and uncertainty surrounding Kobe Bryant's potential return from injury, the Lakers have a few gaping holes to fill before they start the 2013-14 season.
That act of filling out the roster could turn out to be be quite the difficult task, because the Lakers are currently a shade under twenty million over the salary cap going into the upcoming season. That dilemma could allow notable D-League alumni and current members of the team's Summer League roster (Chris Douglas Roberts, Lester Hudson and Marcus Landry) to make that transition to the regular season roster in the fall.
After waiving Metta World Peace via the NBA's amnesty clause, the Lakers are currently lacking a viable small forward option. The most ideal fit for that hole could be former Reno Bighorn sharpshooter Landry or NBA veteran Douglas-Roberts, who are currently shining during Summer League. While it isn't the best idea to base a player's potential off of Summer League, both of these two players are looking aggressive on both sides of the ball.
Last year with Reno, Landry was mainly looked at as the team's main floor spacer due to his stellar ability to score from the perimeter (shot 42% from behind the three point line). That solid touch has stayed with Landry as he's traveled to Vegas but has been more aggressive by moving around defenders and driving to the basket. Adding that wrinkle to his arsenal will make him a more intriguing and versatile offensive player. While Landry's defensive ability was apparent during his time with Reno, his showcase against 6'11 John Henson was extremely impressive as he was able to stick with the bigger opponent inside the paint and on the block.
As a combo guard, it's tough to assess Douglas-Roberts' future with the Lakers or NBA in general. Since being drafted in 2008 by the Nets, he has been an intriguing option because of his ability to use his 6'7 to work around the perimeter and score from the perimeter. That's still apparent throughout LA's first few games in Summer League, where he's had moments where he looked like the best player on the court but then disappears for multiple quarters during the game.
With the recent additions of Wesley Johnson and Nick Young, there isn't much space for shooting guards on LA's roster but his ability to guard multiple positions is an extremely valuable asset for either Los Angeles or any other team in the NBA.
Both Landry and Douglas-Roberts have always had that ability to fill a specific role on an NBA franchise. With the Lakers looking for solid and cheap veterans to fill out their roster, CDR and Landry could become solid offensive fits in D'Antoni's up-tempo offensive system. Landry's aforementioned skills from the perimeter and Douglas-Roberts' size and ability to work his way to the basket.