Why Ater Majok Can Become an Impact Player for the Lakers

By Shawn Etemadi

The Los Angeles Lakers took Ater Majok with the 58th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. The lanky big man was a former highly touted basketball recruit in the United States and was once rated as the #13 recruit in the nation by Rivals. But many NBA experts and analysts are still questioning Majok’s ability.

The 6′ 11′ Sudanese talent spent one year in the NCAA with the UConn Huskies. In his only season playing under Jim Calhoun, Majok averaged 2.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in 14.6 minutes per game (26 games).

Over the years, Calhoun has produced many NBA big men, including the likes of Emeka Okafor, Hilton Armstrong, Jeff Adrien, Charlie Villanueva, Josh Boone, and Clifford Robinson. Others (the busts) include Travis Knight, Jake Voskuhl, and Hasheem Thabeet.

With Theo Ratliff and Joe Smith surely no longer part of the Lakers future plans, the 11th and 12th roster spots are up for grabs. Also, Derrick Caracter has been rumoured to be leaving Los Angeles this summer. Could Majok be the answer as the Lakers back-up center? Very much so.

To the doubters, what’s the worst that could happen? Majok scores one basket all season and is seemingly injured for months on end. Wait a minute, I just had a recollection. That’s what Theo Ratliff gave the Lakers in 2010-11!

Without a doubt, Majok’s incredible length is his biggest asset. He has wingspan that has been measured anywhere from 7′ 4” to 7′ 7”. Also, Majok won’t be asked to do much other than defend and rebound if he makes Mike Brown’s 12-man roster, but he is not the “raw” player that most scouts describe him as.

The 24-year-old center has exceptional foot speed for a man his size. During workouts Majok has been asked not only to guard power forwards and centers, but also small forwards. That says a lot about his lateral quickness.

Majok has all the tools to become a solid center in the NBA. He’s long, active, a great shot blocker and rebounder, and has ideal size. Majok will prove many doubters wrong next season, whenever that may be, and make the Lakers roster. Injuries will surely determine his impact and playing time when the Lakers resume play.

Be sure to follow Shawn on Twitter: @etemadis 


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