Monday, 18 October 2010


Devin knows how good he's going to be.


INDIANAPOLIS - APRIL 03: Devin Ebanks #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers looks to pass the ball against Jon Scheyer #30 of the Duke Blue Devils during the National Semifinal game of the 2010 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium on April 3, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

If your unlucky enough to sit so high up in the bleach during Laker games that your nose starts to bleed than you might begin to see things. There goes an athletic wing, around 6 foot 8 or 9. He's got short black hair, stubble but no beard and an assassins stare. Plus he's got speed and style to boot, look familiar? Not only is he fast but he hustles and hard to. Is this 2009? This same player wears number 3 and stands next to Ron Artest... didn't he? Isn't that Trevor Ariza?


Sorry to report this but one of the Lakers best championship players isn't back but that doesn't matter right now because the guy we see before us is playing almost as well as him and shares the court with defensive maestros Ron Artest and Matt Barnes. Not to mention the post trio of Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum and one guy you may be real familiar with. You know the legend, the MVP, the five time heavyweight champ.

This number 3 however, giving his all on both ends of the floor actually goes by the name of Devin Ebanks. You may not know the name, but soon you'll know the game and then the first and last will be household and televised.

Last season some weren't sure whether Ron Artest would deliver the same firepower and intensity that Ariza did but Ron, Ron came up big so many times for the Lakers in the playoffs that they had to name him twice. Ron saved the Lakers and the Doberman from the doghouse so many times that they may as well of named him Robert. Still what the Lakers gained in Artest's strength and solidness, they lost in Ariza's speed and spark. Now with the addition of Devin in the Lakers bank they may finally be able to replace the liability that was missing following Ariza's departure. Ebanks is an asset that may pay off in dividends.

NEW YORK - MARCH 13: Kevin Jones #5 and Devin Ebanks #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrate after defeating the Georgetown Hoyas to win the championship of the 2010 NCAA Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 13, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Devin's works hard and his plays are large. Sure Shannon Brown brings the Shan-WOW to this generations Showtime night after night but with Ebanks the Lakers have another player who can finish emphatically at the rim and a player they've sorely missed when losing guys like Ariza or the reel worthy talent of Maurice Evans.

Kobe can still get up, but due to his age and evolution of his game he doesn't go to the rim like he once did. Now when he has the floor and it's open Kobe can start the fast break and deflect to a guy like Devin who can finish, closing other teams out. Kobe and Devin have already being doing this in the preseason working the open lane so much and driving through like a McDonalds line at peak time. It's in this preseason as well where Devin has been able to show the Lakers his potential in prime playing time.

It's in the preseason were Ebanks has been able to shine (thanks to the tarnish of injuries the Lakers have suffered to guys like Kobe, Sasha and Walton Ebanks) and Devin has managed to plaster this 'bust' preseason with some silver linings in the cloud of defeat. Devin has averaged 7 points and a shade under 3 and a half boards coming into the light in front of Hollywood. Most recently he had 14 in a win against Denver and 10 on a dethroning of the Sacramento Kings. Kobe on top form, or Kobe not on top form sharing the ball and actually doing something with it with guys like Gasol, Odom, Fisher, Barnes, Blake and Artest is more than impressive, it's impressionable.

It's even more impressive and impressionable when considering that Devin is a rookie and a passed up 43rd pick at that. It's a good job the high school standout and West Virgina college player has been able to make an impact on the imposing opinion of coach Phil Jackson because normally it's impossible for any rook to gain more PT's than DNP-CD's for the Zen master. With the unbelievable development of Ebank's play in the preseason his legitimate shot of becoming a legitimate option in the season is undeniable.

NEW YORK - MARCH 13:  Devin Ebanks #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers reacts on the court during a game against the  Syracuse Orange during the semifinal round of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 13, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Sure there will be rookie mistakes and sore hands from carrying all those bags but once the futures in Ebanks palms and he earns his stripes he's going to give the Lakers another star and state of play en route to their likely championship run. Ebanks is focused, he's even on top of his Twitter game, saying he can smell a three peat and with his fire and passion this tenacious talent isn't sniffing at any b.s.

On his quest to prove he belongs on a team with more than six go to guys and his journey to show every other team that passed him up 43 times Devin will show his full potential. Just like Ariza and just like Shannon before Devin will be called upon to spark plug the Lakers and the Staples Centre crowd off the bench with energy plays. What shouldn't be disconnected however is that just like these two guys his game has so much more to it.

Sure the Youtube highlights will come but as the season wears on and the playoffs break in these top ten plays in otherwise dull moments will turn into key plays in decisive moents. Just like Ariza for the 2009 champion Lakers or Leon Powe for the 2008 championship Celtics Ebanks will be ready and charged for when the Lakers are overdrawn. Make no mistake if Ebanks unquestionable rise continues through 82 games and 8 weeks he'll be one of the keys to the Lakers success without a doubt. Then he'll be able to stand next to Lamar Odom and Ron Artest and share more than their native Queensbridge upbringings. Let's not front however, with the way he's come up while other Lakers have let down this preseason it aint hard to tell he already deserves to be amongst the centre of attention. Devin has already planted his feet, now it's time for him to fill those sneakers and leave some footprints.

So if your sitting up in the Hollywood hill, high rises of the Staples Centre you may want to borrow the binoculars from the guy next to you because that number 3 isn't Trevor Ariza. It's someone else, someone here to stay. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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