North Vancouver’s Robert Sacré will open the 2012-13 NBA regular season as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The seven-foot-tall Handsworth secondary grad was the last player picked in this year’s NBA draft, 60th overall, and entered Lakers training camp on a non-guaranteed contract that would allow the Lakers to cut him at any time. Sacré, however, made himself indispensable with his steady play during the preseason.
With superstar centre Dwight Howard working his way into game shape following a back injury, Sacré was thrown into the mix right from Day 1 for the Lakers, earning the start in the first preseason game. He didn’t disappoint. In eight total exhibition games Sacré earned six starts, averaging 6.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest while shooting 51.4 per cent from the field.
Monday was the final day for NBA teams to trim their rosters down to 15 players and Sacré’s name was one of the 15 listed on the Lakers website in the Season Preview released this afternoon. Player development coach Phil Handy included some glowing comments about Sacré in the 23-year-old rookie’s bio.
“He's made huge progress since the summer league,” said Handy. “He surprised me in the preseason with his toughness. He's had to practice against Dwight Howard every day, and he hasn't backed down. He got a look at some premier bigs in the league like LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMarcus Cousins and held up well.”
Sacré is not expected to play big minutes during the regular season and his contract will not be guaranteed until January but he has a chance to earn playing time backing up Howard in the middle, particularly when the Lakers are looking to use a big lineup.
Handy highlighted a few things the team would like Sacré to improve.
“The biggest thing we're trying to work on are his motor, going hard every play, in addition to his roll game off picks,” he said. “Surprisingly, he shoots the ball pretty well out to about 15 feet and he continues to work hard every day.”
Sacré helped Handsworth win a provincial title in his Grade 11 year before heading to Gonzaga University where he worked his way into the rotation and eventually became the team’s cornerstone. Last season Sacré was named the West Coast Conference’s defensive player of the year after averaging 11.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
© Copyright (c) North Shore News