Tarik Black Showing He’s a Keeper for Los Angeles Lakers

Tarik Black has only been a member of the Los Angeles Lakers since Dec. 28, but he is already proving his worth.

The undrafted rookie out of the University of Kansas is averaging eight points and 5.7 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game since being picked up off waivers from the Houston Rockets. Houston let Black go in order to clear roster room to sign Josh Smith. 

The odd man out for the Lakers has been utility center Robert Sacre, who has not cracked the rotation in the last four games. 

Byron Scott says he’ll stick with the new arrival as long as he keeps delivering, per Serena Winters of Lakers Nation: “His minutes are probably going to continue to be in that 20 minute and up range.”

This is especially noteworthy considering the 23-year-old bruiser joined a roster already deep in frontcourt players.

In addition to supplanting Sacre, the newest Laker is also eating into starting center Jordan Hill’s minutes. Hill is averaging 25.8 minutes in January, compared to 32.3 in November. Black's role often entails being used in a big frontcourt in the second unit alongside Carlos Boozer at power forward, with stretch 4 Ryan Kelly shifting to small forward.

Hill seems to support his new competition, though, per Bill Oram of the Orange County Register:

Although they have very different body types, Black’s game is somewhat reminiscent of Hill’s not long ago, in that both provide energy and athleticism under the basket. However, Black already has a more disciplined style, while Hill’s newfound love for mid-range jumpers can sometimes sublimate his propensity for crashing the offensive boards.

For the record, the Lakers list Black at 6’11" and 257 pounds, but he measured at 6’8.5” with a 7’3” wingspan during a predraft workout for the Los Angeles Clip...

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