Breakers recruit: Darnell Lazare dunks for the Sydney Kings in the 2012-13 season. Photo: Getty Images
New Breakers import Darnell Lazare says he's happy to come off the bench if that's what's needed for his new club to have their best shot at a record fourth consecutive NBL title.
Those words will be music to the ears of new head coach Dean Vickerman who may well need his American big man to embrace a bench role in the upcoming season.
With Tall Blacks Alex Pledger and Mika Vukona already established as starting centre and power forward, respectively, it's likely the 28-year-old former Sydney King will be pushed into a role as the first big man off the bench.
That's fine by Lazare who says he's just happy to have come to such a successful and welcoming organisation to continue his professional career.
"The type of player I am I want to come in and play hard, and with a lot of energy," he said ahead of tomorrow's first day of pre-season practice. "Offensively I can do some things, defensively I can do some things, and whatever coach sees fit, I'm willing. I just want to help the team win another championship."
Asked if he was happy to fill a bench role, which he did occasionally for the Kings last season, the former Louisiana State University standout nodded in the affirmative.
"If that's what it calls for, that's just what I'm going to have to do. I've been in that situation before and I'll just take everything in my stride."
Lazare couldn't believe his luck when he was assessing his options at the end of the last season and the Breakers came calling, looking for a more adaptable player to replace Will Hudson.
"This programme has won three in a row - why wouldn't you want to come play for a championship team," he said. "Luckily I was able to make it happen."
Lazare has a fair idea what he's in for stepping into this tight Breakers unit alongside new import point guard Kerron Johnson.
"They play hard for 40 minutes, it seems like they trusted one another, they played together a lot and knew each other's games inside-out. It was always tough playing them.
"I thought we played them pretty tough most times, but they just always found a way to get over the hump and get it done. That's something I respected about them. They play a certain way and I want to be part of that."
As for the pressure to keep the championship run going, Lazare says he doesn't feel like that will be a factor.
"They go about it as professionals. I've been in similar situations, and you've just got to approach it one day at a time and just try to be the best you can be each day. If you do that you give yourself a chance to reach those goals."
The Breakers open their pre-season schedule with back-to-back games against the Melbourne Tigers in Christchurch and Wellington on September 10 and 12.