Lakers Rumors: Courtney Lee Would Be Crucial Piece in Kobe's Hunt for a 6th Ring

Adam FromalNational NBA Featured ColumnistJuly 18, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 26:  Courtney Lee #5 of the Houston Rockets drives with the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during their opening night game at Staples Center on October 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, 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 Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to look for ways to improve their lackluster bench and help boost the relief for the NBA's best starting five, Courtney Lee continues to become a more intriguing option. 

HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy originally reported that the Lakers had interest in acquiring Lee through a sign-and-trade, a report that has not since been falsified. 

Right now, the Lakers have one of the worst benches in all of the NBA, as free agents continue to look in other directions. 

The bench mob is led by Steve Blake and prominently features Devin Ebanks, Christian Eyenga, Andrew Goudelock, Darius Morris and Josh McRoberts. Seriously. That's just about it. 

As good as the starting five might be, the bench is going to seriously hinder any potential quest for a championship—one that would allow Kobe Bryant to start a ring collection on a second hand. 

An easy way to provide a quick upgrade would be to complete the aforementioned sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets

Lee is a valuable shooting guard and a hot commodity on the market right now for good reason. He'd become the leader of the second unit and a threat to contend for Sixth Man of the Year honors while backing up Kobe Bryant. 

His presence would also allow Kobe to rest a bit more each game and preserve his legs during the regular season so that he could play even more effectively in the postseason. 

Lee's game—with the exception of one trait that I'll get to later—fits in perfectly with the Lakers' system. 

He's young and provides a nice, sorely needed boost in the athleticism department. He's a threat predominantly from the perimeter, which helps spread the defense and allows less of a focus on stopping Kobe's penetration and the post games of Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol. 

He'd be able to shoot often on that second unit—one that finished dead last in points scored last season—and utilize his stroke from downtown early and often. 

Additionally, Lee is a solid defender who is never hesitant to put forth effort on the less glamorous side of the ball. 

The one flaw in Lee's game for the Lakers is his inability to score from the interior of the half-court set. He's completely adverse to pick-and-rolls and shies away from contact, preferring to stay on the less physical outside of the set. 

With Steve Nash running the show, Lee would have to develop a pick-and-roll game to maximize his potential. Whether he can do so or not is anyone's guess. 

That said, the Lakers wouldn't be asking him to be the perfect player—just a leader off the bench for the time being. 

After years of filling that role capably for the Rockets, Lee would thrive even more with a bit of increased responsibility in L.A.

And as much as Lee could use that, the Lakers could use him even more.