Before getting his number called as the surprise starter in place of the injured Kobe Bryant on Saturday, Devin Ebanks had fallen completely out of the Lakers' rotation, not playing more than 10 minutes in a game since Jan. 13 against Cleveland.
Rookie guard Andrew Goudelock is in the same boat. After going through a stretch in late January through early February when he scored in double digits in four out of five games for L.A., Goudelock hasn't sniffed double-digit minutes since March 18 against Utah when he went 1-for-5 in 11 minutes of burn.
But just because Bryant's 38.4 minutes per game are seemingly up for grabs while he's out, don't expect Goudelock to get back into Mike Brown's mix. While Goudelock's scoring ability could certainly help the Lakers' subs who rank dead last in the league among second units with a 20.2 points per game average, Brown is worried about Goudelock giving up too many points on the other end.
"Goudelock has to be a situational guy," Brown explained. "Because what happens to us when he plays ... For instance, we tried to play (Ramon) Sessions and (Steve) Blake against the Clippers, and if you think about Nick Young’s scoring spurt that he had in that game, it was when we had a point guard guarding him defensively. (Young) scored four or six points in a hurry, just kind of taking Steve down to the right block and turning and shooting over him."
Goudelock is listed at 6-3, the same height as Blake and Sessions, but his size could be inflated a tad.
"So, if Goudelock plays, that’s the match-up problem we’re going to have because Goudelock would have to guard the point, which (Greivis) Vasquez is a big point guard who can post up a lot and who has been posting up lately, and then they have bigger 2s and 3s on the floor that are guys that rebound and run and will post at times," Brown said. "So, it’s more of a matchup thing trying to find minutes for Goudelock. That’s why we’ve looked to Ebanks."
Ebanks had a nice outing against Phoenix, scoring a career-high 12 points on 6-for-11 minutes along with hauling in four rebounds in 32 minutes. But no matter how well he plays in Kobe's stead, there's not going to be a consistent role for him to assume when Bryant returns.
"It’s tough, because we don’t have a ton of minutes, especially when Kobe’s back at the 2-3 spot," Brown said. "The good thing about it is, speaking of Goudelock, he played some already so hopefully -- knock on wood -- if somebody gets injured and he has to be pressed into point guard duty, he’s had some experience there and now, again -- knock on wood for Ebanks -- he’s getting a couple of games under his belt right now and so if somebody gets injured, hopefully he can be ready to step up and have it not be a shock to him or the team because we can kind of get a feel for what we’ll expect."
Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter.