Overview: Powerfully built shooting guard. A bit undersized, but blessed with outstanding strength, a big wingspan, and explosive leaping ability. Not a great offensive talent, but has improved his efficiency and decision-making considerably. Plays tough defense. Was a highly touted prep player, playing in the McDonalds All-American Game and being named Illinois Mr. Basketball while at Proviso East (IL). Didnt make a big splash in the NCAA right away, but became a very solid overall player by his junior year. Landed in the late first round and struggled mightily early in his NBA career. Showed a glaring lack of efficiency in his first two seasons in the NBA, but turned things around in 2009 with the Lakers, playing a role in their Championship run. Made a sizeable impression, appearing to find his niche down the stretch.
Offense: Surprisingly efficient offensive player for the Lakers after struggling for so long. Gets about a third of his offense in spot-up situations, with another sizeable portion coming from fast breaks, cuts to the basket, and one-on-one opportunities. Never known as a great jump shooter, but showed marked improvements down the stretch. Has decent form highlighted by excellent elevation and a compact release. Doesnt rush his jumper as much as he did early in his NBA career, helping him quite a bit. Pretty solid catch and shoot player when given time and space. Not nearly as consistent with a hand in his face or when hes forced to pull up off the dribble. Triangle caters to his shooting ability and allows him to use his explosiveness at the rim as well. Extremely quick first step and attacks the rim like a cannonball. Not going to show a lot of shifty ball handling in the lane, but handles the ball intelligently, making one move and attacking. Very capable finisher due to his excellent leaping ability. Moves well off the ball, taking advantage of opportunities to go back door. Not a natural playmaker, but not horribly turnover prone either. Seems to have really worked on the things that will help him in the triangle.
Defense: Really solid defensive guard. Long, aggressive, active, quick, and strong. Gets down in a stance and shows solid lateral explosiveness, though he doesnt respond well when he has to change directions on a dime. Doesnt get blow by very often, preferring to give a foul than an easy basket. Shows solid defensive fundamentals when closing out shooters, not leaving his feet for anything short of a very aggressive shot fake. Displays very active hands, allowing him to strip the ball away in some situations. Lack of ideal lateral agility hurt him against some elite guards, though hes able to compensate with other tools, and does a very nice job against shooting guards as well.