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Josh McRoberts: 2012 Exit Interview

Josh McRoberts appeared in 50 regular season games, starting six, and did a lot of the team’s dirty work while averaging 2.4 points and 3.4 rebounds while shooting 47.5 percent from the floor. He played a total of 16 minutes in the postseason.

Below is a summary of his exit interview:

- On his meeting with Mitch Kupchak & Mike Brown: “It was pretty quick; we didn’t talk too much, just talked about things to work on throughout the summer and looked forward to next year. I think my biggest thing is to continue to work on shooting the ball. That’s my biggest thing.

- With Andrew Bynum suspended for the season’s first four games, McRoberts started and played well. As he recalls: “It was a lot of fun, a new experience coming here and getting an opportunity to play right away. It was kind of a whirlwind.” Unfortunately, McRoberts sprained his big toe (which is worse than it sounds, as it basically keeps players from being able to run and jump close to full speed), and by the time he got better had fallen out of those regular rotation minutes.

- It was a tricky season for new players like McRoberts, signed just before the super-shortened training camp, to find a way to fit in and establish oneself especially in a front court where playing time was dominated by Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum: “Finding a comfort level this year was a little bit tough on everybody with a shortened season and no practice, especially for a guy in my position coming into a new place where you don’t really have time to prove yourself in training camp. Not to make any excuses, but that’s different from what we’re used to … it’s a challenge. You want to be out there, you want to play.” A really good teammate liked by everybody, McRoberts credited the guys that got and earned the playing time even as he coveted it like every player does.

- McRoberts said he felt the locker room was very confident that “we could continue winning” and meet the goals they had coming into the season. Of course, it didn’t play out as any of the players expected, and thus the disappointment both as a team and individually, not getting to contribute what he had hoped he would.

- On if he could have helped the team with his athleticism: “I would have loved to be out there. I would have done everything I could to try and help.”

- McRoberts is eager to prove himself next season after essentially falling out of the rotation as Jordan Hill emerged in the second-to-last regular season game. McRoberts acknowledged that Hill played well in the time he had, and Mike Brown thus stuck with the rotation. But he’s confident that he’ll prepare himself the right way in the offseason and have a chance to show what he can do starting in training camp for the 2012-13 season.

A Chat with Josh McRoberts

Late last week, we chatted with Lakers forward Josh McRoberts for a few minutes after practice, to discuss the painful sprained toe that kept him out for six games, his focus on doing the “little things,” getting a new car and some of his friendships on the team:

On his toe:
McRoberts: I’m feeling better. I’m not 100 percent yet, but I’ll get better once I get my conditioning fully back. The type of injury it is makes it more difficult. Our training staff works on it, to see how much motion and bruising I have, but it’s a fine line between putting too much pressure on it and taking time to rest.

On his weak side defensive effort:
McRoberts: It’s something I think I can help with by understanding rotations and covering for guys. I don’t expect people to really notice it; I don’t know if a fan watching would notice it, because I wouldn’t if I were watching. People want to see Kobe score 40, for example … but there are savvy Lakers fans that may notice. At the end of the day I know the coaches and my teammates notice, so that’s what matters. I think doing those little thing is one of my roles here.

On if he’s had a moment to enjoy being in Los Angeles:
McRoberts: The season has been so hectic that it’s been tough to gage, but I will say it’s a lot more fun to be on the court than to be on the sideline hurt. I’m just happy to be back on the court, and can’t wait to get back to 100 percent in shape.

On if he sorted out his car situation:
McRoberts: Well, I had the (Toyota) Prius I was borrowing, then I had a rental, and now I finally had a chance to lease a car. But I’m not a car guy … I just want something that runs. It’s not a big deal to me.

On his relationship with Troy Murphy:
McRoberts: We played together for a few years in Indiana, so I just know him pretty well and we’re pretty good friends. We’ll have dinner together on the road every once in a while. Murph helped me a lot in Indiana, because he was a starter when I was in my second year in the league, and he’d talk me through stuff. I’d guard him in practice, and he’d help me through plays. Now that I’m in my fifth year, it’s not as one sided, as we can sort of communicate together on the floor about what we see … but he still knows a lot more than I do. I also will hang out with Steve (Blake), who I spent a year with in Portland.

On the team chemistry for a team with a lot of new faces:
McRoberts: I feel comfortable as a new guy. Everybody gets along well, and it’s a great group of guys. But it is a locker room that focuses on hoops. Guys really are focused. Some other locker rooms have more jokes than not, and there is a time and a place for everything, but people here really come in here and get their work done.

Lakers Shorthanded in Utah

For the second consecutive game, the Lakers will be without the services of all three of their preseason free agent acquisitions for Wednesday’s contest in Utah: Troy Murphy (gastroenteritis); Josh McRoberts (sprained left big toe); and Jason Kapono (personal).

That McRoberts will miss a sixth straight game was expected (he’s officially listed as “doubtful”), though he did travel with the team to continue to rehabilitate his toe. Murphy was hoping to join the team in Salt Lake City but remains sick, while Kapono will stay in Los Angeles with his wife and their brand new twin girls, born on Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.

Helping to fill the collective void in Tuesday’s win over Phoenix was Luke Walton, who played mostly power forward while amassing six points, eight rebounds (five offensive), three assists and a steal in 26 minutes. Steve Blake, meanwhile, had eight assists off L.A.’s bench, the most he’s had since joining the Lakers prior to last season (previous: seven @ N.Y. on 2/11/11).

Metta World Peace could also see some action at the power forward slot, where he pitched in against Phoenix, grabbing some of his seven rebounds.

Josh McRoberts Beaming in L.A.

CLICK HERE to watch video of McRoberts being interviewed.

With a big grin on his face, new Lakers forward Josh McRoberts — who arrived at midnight and had his physical in the morning before practice — expressed his excitement to be in L.A., detailed what he hopes to bring to the fold and more:

Q: On learning Coach Mike Brown’s new system quickly:
McRoberts: I think I’ll pick it up. A lot of it is just basketball. A lot of the NBA stuff is the same, it’s just like learning a new language. Everything is called something different and has wrinkles to it. I’m going to get with the coaches today and before practice tomorrow to try and pick it up as fast as possible.

Q: On if he spoke or met with other teams, and deciding on the Lakers:
McRoberts: My agent talked to a lot of teams before the decision was made; the great players that have been here, the great players that are here now, it’s a privilege to put on this jersey. We talked about it a lot. I had options to go right away when camp opened, but we wanted to wait to see what the best opportunity was going to be. The Lakers are a great organization, a great opportunity. The Lakers had expressed interest, and I talked to Coach Brown before and after.

Q: On half of his field goal attempts coming at the rim last year, and if he get there easier with defense focused on Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol:
McRoberts: I think so. Obviously guys have to focus on them, those are big, long, athletic guys. It takes a lot of attention to keep them off the boards, so I think that’ll create lanes and opportunities for me to get to the rim for put backs and offensive rebounds.*
*Google McRoberts dunks from last season, you’ll see a bunch with him flying in for put-backs.

Q: On what he thinks Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak saw in him:
McRoberts: I think he knows I’m going to play hard and bring my best effort every night. I like to play winning basketball. I’m not a stat guy. You’re not going to be too blown away if you look at my numbers from high school, college, the NBA … it doesn’t matter, I’ve never been a numbers guy. I just want to win basketball games and do what it takes to get wins, whether that’s passing or rebounding … whatever it takes.

Q: On the key to his improvement last season:
McRoberts: Playing time. Just getting an opportunity to play. I got a chance in Indiana to start at the beginning of the season and continue to find a role towards the end of the season coming off the bench that I could excel in.

Mike Brown revealed that he’s actually known McRoberts since his sophomore year in high school at Carmel in Indianapolis, as Brown’s sons looked up to the forward and would have gone to Carmel themselves had the family not moved. Brown was the associate head coach under Rick Carlisle with the Pacers, and used to take his kids to Carmel games. He’s quite familiar with the game of McRoberts, who spent the past three seasons in Indiana.

“I like his size, his length, and that he’s a tough son of a gun,” said Brown. “He brings an added energy to this team when it comes to getting offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds, running the floor, getting put backs, diving on the floor for 50-50 balls. He brings those intangibles that can be infectious on the group.”

With Andrew Bynum being suspended for the first five games, Brown said that, who knows, McRoberts might even have to start at the four as Pau Gasol moves over to the five. Either way, Brown expects him to get some “serious minutes,” adding that he can even play a little bit of five if need be.

“He’s a young guy that has established himself as an NBA player, maybe a starter but definitely a rotation guy that can get better,” Brown concluded.

RELATED: Press release and some additional info on McRoberts: Lakers Sign Josh McRoberts.