PHOENIX -- Indiana Pacers forward Josh McRoberts began the four-game trip not expecting a lot of playing time.
By the time the trip ended here Saturday, though, McRoberts was one of the few bright spots for the Pacers.
McRoberts was a steady contributor all week, and his play during the trip may have helped him earn him more playing time.
"I think on this road trip, Josh McRoberts has played well offensively," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said about the Carmel native. "If he can continue to help us offensively and improve his defense, he'll get more and more looks."
McRoberts got minutes against the Los Angeles Lakers in the trip's first game as the Pacers were thin in the frontcourt due to Roy Hibbert's foul trouble and Solomon Jones' suspension.
McRoberts responded by scoring a career-high 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench. He also showed a bit of toughness that the Pacers have lacked when he fouled Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant to make sure he didn't get an easy dunk on a fast break.
O'Brien took heat on sports talk radio shows in Indianapolis when he said McRoberts' performance during the Lakers game was "irrelevant."
"I feel like I've done OK," McRoberts said. "I've got a lot of room for improvement, obviously. It's been good to get consistent minutes. It's a lot of fun to be out there playing."
McRoberts had 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting to go with four rebounds, four assists and two steals against the Denver Nuggets on Friday. He threw down a one-handed dunk over a player many compare him to: Chris Andersen.
McRoberts' athleticism and hustle has made him a favorite target of his teammates on the court.
"He's shown intangibles you can't teach," point guard Earl Watson said. "His athleticism, his will to raise his basketball IQ. He's very skilled. He can handle the ball as a big on the break and finish with the right or left hand.
"He's still young and has a lot of room to grow. He's up there with most of our young players with the most potential."
McRoberts has an opportunity to be a solid rotation player off the bench if he improves his defense and rebounding and continues to work on his jump shot.
McRoberts went into Saturday's game averaging 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 24 games this season.
"I feel confident in my shot," McRoberts said. ". . . It's tough when you get one or two jump shots a game to prove you can make jumpers. If I go out and get 10 jumpers, I feel like I can make five or six of them. It's a matter of making the shots I get and staying confident."