Los Angeles Lakers: 6 Missed Opportunities of the NBA Offseason
After a disappointing 2010-2011 season, the Los Angeles Lakers entered the offseason under a whirlwind of uncertainty.
The team clearly had many issues to address including depth, age, athleticism, and the point guard position.
Although the Lakers addressed many of these problems during the offseason, there were many opportunities they didn’t capitalize on.
Here’s a list of the Lakers’ biggest misses during the NBA offseason.
1. Getting a Solid Starting Point Guard
At the end of last season, it was clear that the Lakers needed a younger and more efficient point guard.
Derek Fisher hasn’t been very effective the past the few seasons, shooting well below 40 percent from the field. In addition, Fisher’s age is a significant issue—at 37 years old, he doesn’t have much left in the tank.
Steve Blake played well below expectations in his first season with the Lakers, averaging a mere 4.0 PPG on 35.9 percent shooting from the field.
Like Fisher, Blake is getting old—he’s 31 years old now.
The Lakers addressed their need at point guard by drafting Darius Morris in the 2011 NBA Draft.
However, the Lakers needed an immediate solution heading into the 2011 offseason in order to get into championship form.
They attempted to trade for Chris Paul, a player who could’ve remedied many of the team’s woes, but that trade unfortunately fell through—a big opportunity missed.
The Lakers could’ve attempted to trade for a young point guard like Ramon Sessions of the Cavaliers or Rodney Stuckey of the Pistons—although the trades could have been costly, the Lakers would’ve certainly gotten value in return.
Furthermore, the Lakers could have tried to woo a free agent like Mario Chalmers to come to Los Angeles, but that didn’t happen.
Clearly, the Lakers had a few opportunities to improve at the point guard position, but things didn’t work out.
Now, they must continue to work things out with the aging point guards they have: Steve Blake and Derek Fisher.
2. Acquiring Productive Bench Players
With players like Matt Barnes, Shannon Brown, Steve Blake, Luke Walton and Lamar Odom, the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t have an exceptional bench.
Certainly, there were ways that they could have improved during the offseason, especially after the loss of Brown and Odom.
While the Lakers did sign a good bench player in Josh McRoberts this offseason, it’s evident that the team still lacks a productive cast of role players—so far, Metta World Peace is the team’s best bench player, and he’s scoring only 8.6 PPG on 40.4 percent shooting from the field.
During the offseason, the Lakers had the opportunity to bolster their bench.
They could’ve signed Tracy McGrady, who’s currently playing for the Hawks on a minimum salary—McGrady was a good role player for the Pistons last year, and he’s scoring well for the Hawks now.
Grant Hill, who ranked third among small forwards in pure point rating, could have been a good option, too.
3. Acquiring Youth and Athleticism
While being swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 playoffs, one thing was very clear: the Lakers were old and slow.
In order to alleviate this problem, the Lakers needed to acquire young and athletic players this offseason.
Although there weren’t many affordable options this offseason, the Lakers signed Josh McRoberts.
However, there were a few more players who the Lakers could have signed who fit their needs in addition to McRoberts.
Al Thornton, who I believe is still available, could have helped the Lakers a lot if he were signed—he’s still relatively young at 28 years old, and he’s a proven player who averaged 17 PPG with the Clippers in the 2008-09 season.
4. Improving Front-Court Depth
The Lakers have one of the best power forward-center duos in the NBA with Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
However, the team doesn’t have much depth at the two positions, and they had the opportunity to address the need during the offseason.
Players like Aaron Gray, Chris Wilcox, Reggie Evans and Joel Pryzbilla are good rebounders who can defend the rim—during the offseason, they were affordable options that the Lakers could have pursued.
5. Getting Trade Value for Lamar Odom
After the Chris Paul trade failed, Lamar Odom asked to be traded by the Lakers.
This could have been a big opportunity for the Lakers to get a lot of value for the versatile big man.
However, the Lakers ending up trading Odom to the Dallas Mavericks for what seems like nothing—a trade exception and a draft pick.
Although the trade exception and draft pick have some value, the Lakers aren’t getting any real production.
Certainly, the Lakers could and should have capitalized on the opportunity to trade Odom, but they failed to do so.
6. Acquiring Dwight Howard
Because of Andrew Bynum’s immaturity and injury history in addition to Pau Gasol’s “softness,” many believe the Lakers should try to acquire Dwight Howard.
Later, Howard was eventually taken off the market, much to Lakers’ fans chagrin.
Clearly, out of all potential suitors, the Lakers have the most to offer for Howard with Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
Instead of pulling the trigger during the offseason when Howard was available, though, the Lakers stayed put.
Although Bynum is playing very well so far and a Howard trade seems unnecessary now, the Lakers truly missed out on the opportunity to get the league’s best big man during the offseason.