Heading into the 2021 NBA Draft, there’s an emerging possibility DeMar DeRozan could end up being the ‘difference-making playmaker’ the Lakers need to move LeBron James to the four and Anthony Davis to the five.
While known mostly for his elite midrange game and reluctance to shoot the three, DeRozan has evolved into an elite playmaker with the Spurs the last three years, averaging 6.9 assists on 2.0 turnovers per game last season. Posting the 10th most assists per game and 11th best assists-to-turnovers ratio by a guard, DeMar may have catapulted himself into consideration for the ‘difference-making playmaker’ the Lakers need to win next season.
Pairing DeMar DeRozan with a volume 3-point shooter like Buddy Hield could give the Lakers the midrange specialist they need to close games and the high volume, high percentage 3-point shooter they need for spacing. DeMar DeRozan as primary playmaker and Buddy Hield as main floor spacer should enable the Lakers to build a dynamic championship starting lineup with LeBron James to the four and Anthony Davis to the five.
The Lakers are optimistically hoping DeMar would agree to sign for the $9.5 million non-taxpayer MLE but chances are they would have to work out a sign-and-trade with the Spurs to be able to actually acquire DeRozan. John Hollinger is projected DeRozan’s value on the free agent market to be $16 million so the Lakers would probably have to give him a 3-year deal starting at around $14 to $15 million per year to get him to agree to a sign-and-trade.
Fitting Hield and DeRozan under the $142.9 million hard cap will be a challenge but could be the Los Angeles Lakers best option for upgrading their starting lineup and odds of winning their 18th NBA championship.
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