Five ‘Gettable’ Players To Give Lakers Improved Size, Shooting, and Defense
The Los Angeles Lakers are on the clock and time is running out. Right now, the 20–24 Lakers are 13th in the West 1.0 game out of 10th and the Play-In Tourney and 2.0 games out of 6th and a guaranteed playoff spot.
The Lakers need to start winning games and climbing in the standings immediately if they want a legitimate chance to compete for championship this season. Unfortunately, the Lakers only have 38 games left in season. Realistically, they’ve already lost too many games to win 6th seed and a guaranteed playoff spot unless the crazy parity in the West holds. It took a 48–34 record last year to finish 6th and L.A. has already lost 24 games.
When it comes to the Play-In Tournament, however, the Lakers would have to completely collapse to finish below the 10th seed. While a 48–34 record guarantees a playoff spot, a 34–48 record would make the Play-in Tourney.
The realization that the best they can likely do for the regular season is make the Play-In Tournament has been a bitter pill to swallow and one of the reasons the Lakers have been hesitant to trade away their two picks.
In the end, though, the Lakers know, if they have a healthy LeBron James and Anthony Davis playing at their best and give them a better supporting cast, they have more than a puncher’s chance to win the championship.
Having committed to only making trades that will improve the team both this season and the next two seasons, the Lakers have narrowed their trade strategy to focus on players who can still be contributors in the near future.
Knowing their best path to winning #18 is being patient and trading for players who complement and fit with James and Davis, here are five ‘gettable’ players to give the Lakers improved size, shooting, and defense.
1. Bojan Bogdanovic, Starting Small Forward
Bojan Bogdanovic is the top player on the Lakers ‘Gettable’ Players Trade Deadline Big Board. His elite 3-point shooting and big time scoring is the perfect complement to the Lakers’ LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
While Bojan is 33-years old, the Lakers are betting that he still has several productive years left as indicated by his scintillating performance this season where he’s averaging career highs in points, rebounds, and assists.
The Lakers desperately need size, shooting, and defense. Bojan puts a big check next to both size and shooting. He should immediately become the Lakers best option when they need a basket to tie or win a close game.
If the Lakers decide to make just one trade, it should be to trade either Beverley, Nunn, Jones, and one first round pick for Bojan Bogdanovic or Russell Westbrook for a combination of Bogdanovic, Noel, and Burks.
Bojan Bogdanovic, Small Forward, 33-years old, 6' 7", 226 lbs
21.2/3.6/2.8 on 14.6/5.9/5.2 shots for 48.7%/41.5%/88.5% in 31.4 mpg
2. Fred VanVleet, Starting Point Guard
Second on the Lakers’ ‘Gettable’ Players Trade Deadline Big Board is the Toronto Raptors’All-Star point guard Fred VanVleet, who’s a volume 3-point shooter who optimizes possessions and can run a championship offense.
Fred VanVleet is exactly what the Los Angeles Lakers need from a starting point guard. He’s a career 37.5% 3-point shooter on over 6 threes per game, a former Eastern Conference All-Star, and a proven championship winner.
While he’s only 6' 1", VanVleet is an excellent defender who’s averaged over 1.5 steals per game in each of the last four seasons. Fred has a player option for $22.8 million next season so can become a free agent this summer.
While the Raptors have several players the Lakers covet, the more likely deal is for the Lakers to just trade Beverley, Walker, Nunn, Jones, and a first round pick for Fred VanVleet and save Westbrook for a Pistons trade.
Fred VanVleet, Point Guard, 28-years old, 6' 1", 197 lbs
18.7/4.4/6.3 on 15.8/8.6/4.2 shots for 38.4%/33.4%/89.0% in 36.8 mpg
3. Nerlens Noel, Backup Center
Next on the Lakers’ ‘Gettable’ Players Trade Deadline Big Board is Detroit Pistons backup center Nerlens Noel, who is still an elite defensive center with the quickness, hops, and timing to generate steals and block shots.
Noel’s value to the Lakers is as a backup center to anchor the team’s second unit defense and protect the rim when Anthony Davis is on the bench. In three recent starts for the Pistons, he averaged 1.7 steals and 2.3 blocks.
The overall defensive impact of having an elite shot blocker on the court for all 48 minutes of a game cannot be minimized. The lack of any rim protection with Davis out has been one of the Lakers’ greatest weaknesses.
The recent negotiations between the Lakers and the Pistons on a potential Bogdanovic and Noel trade has been encouraging. Trading for Bojan and Nerlens would give the Lakers a massive boost offensively and defensively.
Nerlens Noel, Center, 28-years old, 6' 10", 220 lbs (3 games as starter)
3.7/3.7/1.3 on 3.3/0.7/0.0 shots for 50.0/50.0%/0.0% in 20.3 mpg
Key defensive stats: 1.7 steals and 2.3 blocks in 20.3 mpg.
4. Alex Burks, Starting Shooting Guard
Veteran Pistons shooting guard Alex Burks is next on the Lakers’ ‘Gettable’ Players Trade Deadline Big Board. Burks not only gives L.A. a shooting guard with size but also one who has shot over 40% the last four seasons.
Burks is the perfect fit as the Lakers’ starting shooting guard. He’s averaging 45.3% from deep on 4.4 threes per game and has shot over 40% from three for the last four seasons and has a 38.3% career 3P%.
Alec Burks, along with Fred VanVleet and Bojan Bogdanovic, give the Lakers three starters who shoot threes and combined made 7.3 of 18.9 3-point attempts per game this season for a 38.6% completion rate.
Alec Burks would be the third elite 3-point shooter the Lakers trade for and the third player coming back from the Pistons along with Bogdanovic and Noel as part of a Russell Westbrook and first round pick trade.
Alec Burks, Shooting Guard, 31-years old, 6' 6", 214 lbs
13.8/3.0/2.2 on 9.2/4.4/4.0 shots for 46.5%/45.3%/81.0% in 21.8 mpg
5. Cam Reddish, Backup Power Forward
Cam Reddish is the last player on the Lakers’ ‘Gettable’ Players Trade Deadline Big Board. The Lakers use Lonnie Walker $6.5 million expiring contract to trade with the Knicks for young small forward Cam Reddish.
Reddish has been a huge disappointment for the Knicks, who spent a first round pick to acquire him from the Hawks. They’re even desperate enough to give him up for just matching salary and a pair of second round picks.
But the Lakers have a problem in that they will not have cap space to re-sign Lonnie Walker and would like to avoid losing him for nothing like they did Alex Caruso and Malik Monk. The solution is swap him for Reddish.
By trading Walker for Reddish, the Lakers avoid losing the former to free agency with nothing in return and get the latter’s Bird Rights so they can go over the cap to re-sign him should he turn out to be a good acquisition.
Cam Reddish, Small Forward, 23-years old, 6' 8", 217 lbs
8.4/1.6/1.0 on 6.8/2.8/1.7 shots for 44.9%/30.4%/87.9% in 21.9 mpg
If you enjoyed this article and want to share your ideas and comments with other Lakers fans, please join us at Lakerholics.Com.