Why Myles Turner Could Be Solution to Lakers’ Russell Westbrook Dilemma

The trade for Russ forced the Lakers to go all-in on small ball with Anthony Davis at the five. Unfortunately, the Lakers’ current version of small ball can’t protect the rim and is getting killed on the boards and outscored in the paint.

The problem with the Lakers’ small ball lineups is they are simply ‘too small.’ Opposing teams are hunting their undersized guards and small forwards and scoring at will in the restricted area and physically dominating at both ends. The Lakers hope in the short term to weather the storm until Trevor Ariza returns from injury in early December and then probably make a trade at the deadline to bring in a bigger 3&D wing player to supplement Ariza.

The question the Lakers need to be asking themselves right now is what move will help make the Russell Westbrook experiment work? It may be time for Rob Pelinka and the Lakers’ front office to think outside of the box.

Why Lakers Should Trade for Myles Turner Instead of Small Forward

The Lakers’ version of small-ball-on-steroids works because size, length, athleticism, and physicality matter in the NBA as long as you don’t lose skill and speed in the process. That’s why Lakers’ small-ball-on-steroids works.

For Westbrook to work with LeBron and AD, the Lakers need to get bigger, which is why Frank Vogel had earlier reintroduced the idea of playing two bigs together and then experimented with it again last night against Detroit. But there’s another route to getting even bigger that could ultimately be better for the Lakers than relying on Ariza or a trying to trade for a bigger 3&D wing, which is what every team in the league is also trying to do.

Instead of pursuing a bigger 3&D wing to play small forward, why not pursue a dynamic young two-way center like Myles Turner who would give the Lakers the rim protector they need and the stretch five they’ve coveted. Vogel could then play his preferred two bigs, Davis his preferred power forward , and James his preferred small forward. You could argue James, Davis, and Turner could be the best front court trio in the league.

Trading for Turner would give the Lakers better rim protection and enable their perimeter defenders to more closely defend the 3-point line. More importantly, the move would make the Lakers a better more versatile team. They could go big or small, play outside-in with 5-out sets to open lanes for LeBron, AD, and Russ to attack the rim, or play inside-out with Turner and Davis as a two-big twin towers set that can dominate the paint and glass.

The Lakers should double down on their version of small-ball-on-steroids by trading for Myles Turner instead of a small forward. Turner would make them both a more dangerous offensive team and more potent defensive team.

How Lakers Trading for Myles Turner Will Help Russell Westbrook

The reason the Lakers should pursue Myles Turner instead of trading for a bigger 3&D wing player is adding a stretch center will make their critical small-ball-on-steroids lineups and Russell Westbrook experiment work.

Not only will the move give the Lakers better rim protection, perimeter defense, rebounding, floor spacing, and vertical gravity at the rim, it would also allow the Lakers to have an elite shot blocker on the court at all times. Playing Myles Turner and Anthony Davis at the same time would put a lid on the basket at the start and end of games for the Lakers and guarantee elite shot blocking and rim protection for all 48 minutes of every single game.

Offensively, having two modern centers capable of stretching the court with 3-point shooting or putting pressure on the rim with with vertical gravity as lob and dunk threats will transform the Lakers’ offense as well as its defense. Being able to play Vogel’s favored two bigs lineups while still being able to create spacing to attack the rim will transform the Lakers ‘too small’ small ball lineups into versatile and unstoppable small-ball-on-steroids lineups.

Trading for Myles Turner will elevate the Lakers into a juggernaut at both ends of the court. It’s the key to unleashing Russell Westbrook at the one and allowing LeBron and AD to play their preferred three and four positions. Adding Turner is also another dagger into the heart of the Lakers’ struggle figuring out how to win the frustrating non-LeBron James minutes that have been the team’s Achilles Heel since signing the King three seasons ago.

The Lakers need to go all-in on making the Russell Westbrook experience work and trading for Myles Turner is the smart move to turn their ‘too small’ small ball lineups into more versatile small-ball-on-steroids lineups.

What Would the Lakers Have to Give Up to Trade for Myles Turner?

After three seasons of rent-a-centers and frustration over AD not wanting to play the five, it’s time for the Lakers to stabilize the center position by trading for an elite two-way center like Myles Turner at the trade deadline.

With the Pacers having to break up their twin towers of Turner/Sabonis, the Lakers should offer Indiana a package that includes young studs Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn and veteran center DeAndre Jordan. Turner will be in demand so the Lakers may have to include a future first round pick or another promising young player like Malik Monk to beat other teams’ offers but it’s the right move to make to optimize LeBron’s window.

Another important benefit of the trade is that it fixes the Lakers’ roster imbalance between bigs and smalls and opens up two roster spots for major upgrades via another trade at the deadline or pickup in the buyout market. Here’s what the Lakers’ starting lineup and depth chart would look after trading young guards Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn and veteran center DeAndre Jordan to the Indiana Pacers for center Myles Turner:

PG: WESTBROOK, Monk, Rondo,
SG: REAVES, Ellington, Bradley
SF: JAMES, Bazemore
PF: DAVIS, Anthony, Ariza
CE: TURNER, Howard

Trading for Turner would give the Lakers a dramatically stronger starting lineup at both ends of the court, solid backups at all five positions, and room to take advantage of other opportunities to upgrade the end of the roster.

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LakerTom

Lakers fanatic since 1971 when team traded for Wilt Chamberlain. Founder, editor, and publisher of Lakerholics.com, a community for smart informed Lakers fans.