NBA Free Agents 2012: Power Ranking Lakers' Best Backcourt Options

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJuly 9, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 10:  Nate Robinson #2 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates during their game against the Miami Heat at Oracle Arena on January 10, 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)
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Despite the huge acquisition of Steve Nash, the Los Angeles Lakers still have some work to do in the backcourt. 

For starters, they need the depth. Ramon Sessions isn't likely to come back, and I don't think there is a Laker fan that is eager to see Steve Blake turning the ball over almost as often as he misses open threes next season.

Beyond that, the Lakers have a bunch of unproven youth to bring off their bench for their two guard positions. Maybe one or some of these guys turns into a valuable player next year. There is athletic potential there, but that is certainly not something L.A. should be banking on.

The Lakers don't have any cap room to bring in a free agent, but they could lure them with the mid-level exception or the veteran's minimum. They could work another sign-and-trade, but they are about out of expendable resources.

With all that in mind, I have power ranked their best options. For this ranking, I have put a premium on the player's ability to defend opposing point guards. With the added shooting of Nash, it is now imperative that the L.A. makes a priority of adding someone that can keep an opposing point guard out of the lane on at least a couple of drives. 

We are not talking about bringing in a guy that is going to reshape this team. We are talking about a player to give 15-20 minutes off the bench, play a little defense and perhaps add a point or two. 

None of these options is ideal, but they are the best the Lakers are going to be able to do with what they have to work with. 


1. Nate Robinson 

He's a wild card, hasn't always been regarded as the most positive influence in the locker room, can make horrible decisions on offense and defense and he shoots too much, but Nate Robinson is also a phenomenally athletic player with ample quickness. 

The Lakers would want to make it clear to Robinson what his role on this team would be, and if he in any way buys into this, then sign him. This is going to be a big if. Robinson is undoubtedly looking for a bigger role than the one the Lakers are offering. However, it is L.A., and he would be just one injury away from getting all the minutes he could handle. 

Robinson has the quickness to stay in front of guards like Russell Westbrook and Tony Parker. He isn't going to shut them down, and he will get torched while gambling, but he will make them work to get past him. 

The other nice fit about Robinson is that he is a decent shooter, and that athleticism would look nice coming off of the Lakers bench. 


2. Delonte West

The Lakers are going to be hurt in their chances of signing West in the same ways they are with Robinson. He will likely be offered more than the mid-level exception, and a bigger role somewhere else.

However, according to, the two parties have reportedly had prior interest in each other, and one big season in L.A. and huge paydays await. Not to mention, he would have a chance to contend for a ring. 

West would be an excellent fit off the bench. He is an excellent defender and he can defend point and shooting guards. He is not an ideal answer to guard the quicker, smaller point guards, but he will offer more resistance than anything the Lakers have received in a long, long time. 


3. John Lucas

It is a fast and steep drop from West and Robinson to the next tier of guard options for the Lakers. The good news is that anyone from this tier is going to be far cheaper, and likely wouldn't even eat up the entire mid-level exception.

Case in point, Mr. Lucas.

Lucas doesn't do anything particularly well, but he is a well-rounded player who has shown eagerness to fit into a system. 

He is certainly not a stopper on defense, but he is solid against guards that can't just overpower him, and that is really what the Lakers need.