Lakers Rumors: Brandon Rush or Nick Young Would Provide Vital Perimeter Presence

Sam R. Quinn@SamQuinn_Senior Analyst IIIJuly 2, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 15:  Brandon Rush #4 of the Golden State Warriors in action against the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena on February 15, 2012 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers finished tied for 25th in the league with a three-point shooting percentage of 39.5 percent. Their collective inability to shoot from the outside was one of the team's biggest weaknesses in the regular season and throughout the playoffs.

That can be fixed this offseason, though.

According to the Los Angeles Times' Mike Bresnahan, the Lakers are reportedly vying for the services of Nick Young and Brandon Rush.

"The Lakers have made preliminary inquiries about free-agent small forwards Nick Young and Brandon Rush, The Times has learned."

Young didn't have a good year from the outside, shooting just under 37 percent from behind the arc and just under 41 percent from the field. That usually isn't Young's method of operation.

He almost single-handedly shot the Los Angeles Clippers back into Game 1 of the first round of the Western Conference playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Clippers were down by 27 at one point, but Young led the charge by hitting three straight threes in one minute to bring his team within three points.

The USC alum finished 6-for-9 from the field in that game. He has shot as high as 40 percent from three, which came in the 2009-2010 season when he was with the Washington Wizards.

Rush spent the 2011-2012 season with the Golden State Warriors. He fared much better than Young in terms of perimeter shooting, knocking down field goals at a 50 percent clip while hitting 45 percent of his threes.

He came off the bench last season in all but one game, but boasts a 44 percent shooting mark for his career. Rush scored 10 points a game for the Warriors in just over 26 minutes per game, but could have more success with the Lakers, as they have more weapons for a defense to worry about.

The acquisition of either Young or Rush would force opposing teams to stretch their defense out instead of focusing on Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the paint. An outside presence will become even more necessary if Gasol is sent elsewhere for a collection of players.

If Gasol doesn't play for the Lakers next season, the Lakers would have Bynum and Kobe Bryant as their only two options on the offensive end. Defenses could key in on the two and not have much to worry about in terms of other players beating them.

A problem comes with signing both players.

Young would likely be too expensive for L.A. to sign because they have just $3 million to spend on a prospective player. 

Rush would command probably somewhere in the range of $3 million, but he is a restricted free agent, meaning that the Warriors can match any offer that the Lakers extend to the 6'6" shooting guard.

Bringing in a quality point guard is probably atop the Lakers' to-do list, but outside shooting help is a good start for a team that was ousted by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference quarterfinals.

The Lakers met an unfortunate end last season, but could easily compete for a title with the addition of a few perfect pieces to complement the rest of their offense.