Lakers player reviews: Robert Sacre

Robert Sacre was a favorite of former coach Mike D'Antoni because of Sacre's work ethic. Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Robert Sacre

2013-14 salary: $788,872 | Age: 24 | Season stats: 5.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG.

Season recap: In Sacre's rookie season, the only time he would be paid any attention was for his antics on the bench as he celebrated his teammates' achievements on the court. This past season, he made the leap from sideshow to rotation player and even started 13 games for the Lakers.

Season highlight: The most lasting memory of Sacre from this past season will be the night he fouled out in Cleveland but got to stay in the game because L.A. didn't have any other healthy bodies available to give the Lakers five men on the court. Sacre actually had a decent game against the Cavaliers, putting up 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting and three rebounds in 27 minutes, but he should get the most credit for how he finished out the season. The Lakers finished their dreadful 27-55 campaign on a two-game winning streak, with Sacre totaling 22 points on 10-for-18 shooting and 12 rebounds in the two games as he made the most of his individual opportunity despite the team tanking.

Season lowlight: Sacre started the season completely out of the rotation for L.A., collecting DNP-CD in 12 of the Lakers' first 15 games.

Final grade: C+

Notes: Sacre is one person who will certainly miss Mike D'Antoni. He became one of D'Antoni's favorites through his work ethic, easygoing demeanor and willingness to sacrifice for his teammates -- to the point where D'Antoni would often spout unsolicited praise about Sacre's play during postgame news conferences even if the second-year center played only spot minutes or seemingly had little impact on the result that night.

Quotable: "I am [one of the better defenders in the league], but I think I can also improve. There's definitely improvement in that aspect. I know that that's one of my goals, to be a top defender in this league. I basically have that as my go-to." -- Sacre after his exit interview.

What's next?: Sacre, along with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, is one of only three players already under contract with the Lakers for next season. He has improved both his body and his effectiveness dramatically in his two seasons in the league already and could be embarking on a long career as a backup big man in a league that always needs 7-footers.