With Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, the three main big men on the Los Angeles Lakers roster out, Robert Sacre had a great chance to step up.
Step up is exactly what the rookie did and he showed that his time as chief cheerleader on the Lakers bench might well be coming to an end.
During the loss to the Houston Rockets he finished off with 10 points, three rebounds and four blocks. Not bad for the player that was taken last in the 2012 draft.
What has been a disastrous season for the Lakers this so far, has made it almost been impossible to write anything positive, but Sacre gives a glimmer of hope.
Not only has Sacre shown that he is not an irrelevant player in the NBA, he has shown what he means to the Lakers. In what was his first start in at center he certainly made people sit up and recognize him, including the likes of Gasol and Howard, who now know that they need to up their game when they return from injury as they see someone who can play with intensity is waiting in the wings.
Some 24 hours before the game, the rookie was playing in the Development league with the D-Fenders before being told that he was to team up with Mike D’Antoni and the rest of the squad. Previous to last night’s start the Canadian had only averaged half a point and eight-tenths of a rebound in 13 appearances with the Lakers.
He had some sharp plays against Houston, including an off-balance seven-foot jump shot after running into Rockets center Omer Asik.
He made only four of 10 shots and became fatigued in the second half but continued his already solid week.
“Obviously in the back of my mind, you’re always thinking, ‘What if, What if?” Sacre said.
“But I think I worked hard enough that I felt comfortable with it.”