Lakers beat writer Mike Trudell revealed via Twitter that Devin Ebanks earned the starting role over Matt Barnes for the Lakers. Ebanks, Barnes, and Luke Walton were in a three-way competition for the starting SF spot left vacant following the trade of Lamar Odom to Dallas and Metta World Peace’s relegation to the bench.
Matt Barnes started the first Preseason game for the Lakers, going scoreless in 11 minutes. Ebanks started the second half of that game and scored 7 in 13 minutes. In the game on Wednsday night, Ebanks got the start and scored 8 points in the first period to go along with 2 rebounds. Matt Barnes started the second half and scored 3 points in 11 minutes to go along with 4 turnovers and a flagrant foul.
Those performances by Ebanks earned him the starting position. Ebanks worked hard over the summer on his outside shot putting up 1,000 shots a day. During the two Preseason games, Ebanks moved very well without the ball on offense in order to get open. Head coach Mike Brown also said Ebanks did some nice things on the defensive end as well.
Ebanks competitor for the position, Matt Barnes, was one of the first to congratulate Ebanks on winning the starting job.
After Brown named Ebanks the starter, he explained his choice.
“He didn’t turn the ball over,” Brown said of Ebanks. “When the ball came his way, he didn’t force anything and he knocked down shots. Then he was solid defensively and didn’t make any mental mistakes on the defensive end of the floor.”
Here is Ebanks’ reaction to the news:
“I’m ready to play either way,” Ebanks said. “That was my focus going into training camp. And it’s going to continue to be that way. I’m just going to do what I’ve been doing since training camp. I’m not going to let up on the hard work and things that they want me to do.”
Ebanks will make the first Regular Season start of his NBA career on Christmas Day as the Lakers take on the Bulls. It will be the first time a Mountaineer has started an NBA Regular Season Game since Jerry West on 4/6/1974 against Portland. It will be interesting to see how Ebanks matches up against Bulls’ SF Luol Deng – a player similar in stature to Ebanks.
“I just came out here and played every time I was out on the floor,” Ebanks said. “The coaches noticed it. So I have the starting job now.”