It’s All In The Game: The Laker’s Big Attitude?

If you have been watching the NBA Playoffs, you probably

have started to notice Sasha Vujacic. The Yugoslavian-born Laker has been

making a little noise in this postseason.

While Sasha’s numbers don’t exactly jump out at you (8.7

points and 2.3 rebounds through the playoffs), his presence on the floor cannot

be missed.

Here you got a 6’7” guy, who is a deadly outside shooter and

a solid defender. But more importantly you have a competitor. He’s goes hard,

he’s gritty and he will not back down.

We have seen him get into several altercations with players

throughout the year including Renaldo Blackman and Rafer Alston.

The more I see Sasha, the more I wonder how good of a player

he can be. Are we talking permanent role player here, or do we have the next

Detlef Schrempf?

First of all, I want to make it perfectly clear that it

pains to give this man props. He’s not exactly very likable if you don’t root

for the gold and purple. Vujucic is arrogant. He carries himself with an

attitude and he loves to provoke his opponents. It definitely doesn’t help his

cause that he calls himself the Machine.

Sasha Vujacic Squares Off With Rafer Alston

On the flip side, Sasha’s got heart. He dives for loose balls,

he takes charges and he plays within the system. Although his cockiness is the

characteristic that annoys people, it is also the characteristic that makes him

so good.

One of the most impressive moments came in Game 5 of the

second round series with the Jazz, where he finished the game shooting 1-11

including 1-8 from downtown. Sasha was never discouraged and kept firing shots

with confidence even though they weren’t dropping. The next game he torched the

Jazz, hitting 5-7 shots en route of eliminating them.

Vujacic Video Blog - Lakers vs. Jazz

Another telling sign for Vujucic is his improvement. Ever

since he was drafted in the first round in ’04, Sasha has improved his point

production and three-point percentage. This season was definitely his breakout

year, as he doubled his points per game average from a season ago (8.8 ppg from

4.3 ppg) and upped his three point shooting by over 6% (43.7% from 37.3%).

Despite his obvious improvement, Sasha still has holes in

his game. His sub-par passing ability, along with the fact that he is weak off

the dribble, narrows his chances of being a starting point guard. He must learn

how to create his own shot if he wants to be complete off-guard.

Sasha is only 23, and has time to develop his overall game.

All things said, I think that Vujacic has the potential to become a third or

fourth option down the road for the Lakers or some other team.

But don’t look for Sasha to leave Tinseltown anytime soon,

seeing that Derek Fisher is getting up there in age and the fact that Mitch Kupchak

and Phil Jackson love this guy. If I were a Lakers fan, I probably would too.

Vujacic '07/08 Season Highlights

Vujacic Video Blog Pt. 2