It’s Time for Los Angeles Lakers to Give Tarik Black a Shot at Center

LOS ANGELES — Second-year center Tarik Black is not the L.A. Lakers' most notable player, but nobody on the team is in a more confusing situation.

Toggling between trips to the D-League and game-long stints on the Lakers bench, Black has only played 142 minutes this entire season. He's been inactive 19 times.

It's strange, considering that Black's size (6’9”), strength (260-plus pounds) and athleticism make him an appealing Band-Aid for one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. But despite his being the closest thing to a modern-day NBA center on their roster, the Lakers have yet to really give Black a shot.

It’s time they do.

One of the most frustrating themes from the first half of this Los Angeles Lakers season has been their consistently inconsistent rotation. Head coach Byron Scott is regularly asked by reporters if meaningful/necessary/logical changes are on the horizon, but regardless of the specific player combination in question, his response rarely strays too far from, “I’ve thought about it.” 

Some minor decisions seem random and desperate, and more notorious moves are detrimental to the long-term future.

The Lakers have roadblocked key opportunities to develop the likes of D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and Julius Randle and are oh-so-obviously more concerned with cradling the past than embracing their present and future.

L.A. isn’t making the postseason. It has nothing to lose, and its current starting center, Roy Hibbert, is an unrestricted free agent this summer, unlikely to return. Playing the younger Black beside other building blocks who figure to be around next year makes sense, if for no other reason than to scrape for some semblance of on-court chemistry.

But Scott doesn’t see it that way. Before Sunday’s loss against the Houston Rockets, the Lakers' head coach was asked...

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