Jul 14, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Robert Sacre looks into the crowd during a stoppage in play in an NBA Summer League game against the Portland Trailblazers at the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Exit Dwight Howard, Enter Robert Sacre

A tad bit late on this but it was fun while it lasted. Now that Dwight Howard has moved on and signed with the Houston Rockets, it’s time to focus on the Los Angeles Lakers next big man.

We all know it would be crazy to even think about comparing Robert Sacre to one of the best defensive centers in the league. But taking a look at how he performed in his first ever career start against the Portland Trail Blazers after Gasol, Hill and Howard were injured, he did fairly well.

Recording 10 points, 4 blocked shots and 3 rebounds in a loss isn’t that bad for a rookie center who sat on the bench with limited  minutes. The 7’0 260 pound prospect picked up around 200 minutes in his first year as a pro, which averages around 6 mins per game compared Gasol’s 36 and Howards 31.

With the wingspan of 7’1 and a reach of 9’0, this kid has the energy, potential and heart to be a good center for the Los Angeles Lakers. No, he isn’t Dwight Howard, Shaquille O’Neal, Andrew Bynum, Wilt Chamberlain, George Mikan or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar but he has a chance to make a name for himself with this franchise.

It’s pretty safe to say that Howard was intimidated and wasn’t quite comfortable being in Los Angeles because of the great centers who have worn that uniform. Being a young player, Sacre doesn’t really have that cocky ego that previous Lakers centers have had in recent years. So being able to learn a coach’s system should be easier for him. Also, listening to and playing with veteran guys like Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Chris Kaman and Steve Nash will definitely benefit him.

He has the size and frame he needs to possibly become a dominant center. Now that Howard’s gone, that leaves a good chunk of minutes that need to be handed out and I think he should pick those up. Which pretty much leaves him splitting Jordan Hill and the recent Lakers pick up, veteran Chris Kaman.

Robert Sacre is the future of the Los Angeles Lakers. As of right now it looks like both Kaman and Hill will get that nod as the #1 and #2 centers on this 2013-2014 roster.

I personally would like to see Sacre pick up a good handful of the minutes that Howard left behind. I’m not saying make him a starter right away, that job will most likely end up becoming Jordan Hill’s or Chris Kaman’s.

But I expect his number to be checked in a lot more this season than last. Pretty excited to see how this rotation of Hill, Sacre, Gasol and Kaman will work out.

Tags: Dwight Howard Jordan Hill Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Pau Gasol Robert Sacre Steve Nash

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