Tarik Black impressing Walton, but can he limit foul trouble?

first_imgPHOENIX >> The noise sounds pleasant to Tarik Black’s ears when he hears his name called by the public address announcer. It’s another reminder Black has stayed in the Lakers’ startling lineup.Yet Black hardly sounds consumed with holding a position that Lakers coach Luke Walton granted him in the last month.“I never cared about starting,” Black said before the Lakers faced the Phoenix Suns on Thursday at Talking Stick Resort Arena. “I put more toward performance and how he has played me consistently this year. That’s more of a confidence builder and a boost in our relationship than putting me in the starting lineup.”That might make things easier for Walton, who plans to start rookie center Ivica Zubac eventually. He delayed that decision partly because Zubac had a right quadriceps contusion that kept him out of the previous two games. Still, the 25-year-old Black has also stated his case by averaging 5.6 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 45.3 percent in 18.2 minutes as a starter. Tough decisionsDavid Nwaba, who signed a 10-day contract with the Lakers last week, was encouraged by Walton’s recent compliments.But when the Lakers mull whether to grant Nwaba a second 10-day contract on Friday, the variables go beyond Walton liking Nwaba’s defense.“We want to look at a couple of people before the season ends,” Walton said. “Some of them aren’t available right now. (Nwaba’s) been good. But we have to decide if we want to wait or look at someone else.”Nwaba, an undrafted guard who starred at University High of Los Angeles and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, entered Thursday’s game averaging 2.8 points on 50 percent shooting in 10.8 minutes through four appearances.“Sometimes guys don’t really believe in me. It’s your job to prove them wrong,” Nwaba said. “I can do more. I have high expectations for myself. Getting to those expectations is the ultimate goal.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“I’m happy with the way Tarik plays,” Walton said. “He’s out there and trying to play the right way. He’s not hunting shots. When he gets open looks, he takes them and gets us extra possessions.”Walton and point guard D’Angelo Russell also praised Black for setting screens and rolling hard to the basket. Regardless of whether he starts or comes off the bench to close out the season, Black is focused on reducing the number of personal fouls (three) he has averaged as a starter.“His reasoning is because he’s tired of giving up layups. That’s why he’s fouling,” Walton said. “I don’t think that’s the case all the time. A lot of times it’s on the guy he’s guarding. But it’s good for him.”Black agreed, arguing matter-of-factly that some of his foul issues stem from officials not giving him star treatment.“I like to be aggressive,” Black said. “I’d rather have the foul trouble now and dial it down as my career progresses and learn how to still be aggressive than to totally take away my aggressiveness.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more