Gilbert Arenas to the Los Angeles Lakers—that is just interesting enough that it might work.
The Lakers currently have a record of 12-9 and are tied for the last NBA playoff spot in the Western Conference. It's too early to be talking about the playoffs. However, with the condensed season, the playoffs will be here sooner than you think.
The Lakers have played solid this year but have gotten no support from their backcourt, outside of Kobe Bryant.
Derek Fisher is playing like he is 37 years old.
Steve Blake has been hurt for most of the season.
Rookies Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock have not had much impact for the Lakers so far this season.
In fact, most of the bench this season has not been any help for the Lakers. The bench was a problem for the them during the offseason, but it seems they did not get the problem fixed.
Early in his career, Arenas was somewhat of a character. He was entertaining and a fun player to watch. Then came the infamous gun incident when he was caught with hand guns in his locker room.Since that time, Arenas has been a much more reserved player. He was nice off the bench for the Magic. He was a scorer they could rely on. He even looked like a leader off the bench and helped to spark his team.
That's what the Lakers need. With Arenas coming off the bench with Josh McRoberts and Ron Artest (Metta World Peace), the Lakers will have a nice core group as their second unit.
Arenas is a player who can still create his own shot. He can take a player one-on-one and take it to the rim, or step back for a three.
He also has the ability to play both point guard and shooting guard. If he plays point, while Steve Blake is out, he can set up his teammates like Morris and find them open looks. Nothing is better for a rookie than having open looks to help them find their rhythm. This could give Morris or other players confidence to play their game as well as take some of the pressure off.
As a shooting guard, Arenas will be a perfect fit. He is a knockdown shooter who can help the Lakers hold onto a lead as well as help generate a comeback.
Also, with a Mike Brown offense that seems slow and stagnant at times, Arenas can push the tempo and create space for open shots while running the fast break.
As a down side, Arenas can be streaky at times. He has gotten into some really bad slumps in his career. However, he has also gotten into some really good hot streaks. The Lakers can ride his hot streaks when he has them and play him about 25 minutes a game and even get him playing with the starters. Arenas is still a good shooter in this league. The Lakers need a shooter, especially one off their bench. Arenas has been clutch through his career and will hit baskets for the Lakers when they most need them. That will help the other players around him.
Bench players feed off crowds if they are at home. A big shot made by Arenas would get the crowd going and the other players would feed off the momentum. Even if it was an away game, the players would feed off the energy Arenas has and play with the spirit that he has.
Arenas will provide energy for this Lakers team. Energy that could help this bench come together and be a more effective second unit.
This year, more than any other year in recent history, the bench will be a big factor in making a playoff run. The condensed season has teams playing back-to-back games on a regular basis and depth will be key.
The Lakers are an older team in the league. While Arenas is not the youngest guy out there, he is still another player who can be added to the rotation to give the Lakers more depth.
Depth is something the Lakers lack. They make up for it with a good starting five, but with Arenas coming off the bench, the starters might be more relaxed coming out of the game. Arenas will be a spark for the Lakers if he is signed. He will make the players around him better and can teach the young rookies how to play the game the right way. Arenas has improved is basketball integrity and has become someone a young player can look up to on the court.
This isn't the move Lakers fans were thinking about to start a run at a championship this year. However, this might be all the Lakers need to get that spark to set them on a tear to another championship.