Breaking Down the Pros and Cons of Each L.A. Lakers Offseason Move
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Entering the offseason, it was clear the Lakers had a number of issues they needed to rectify, including their point guard situation, bench play and perimeter shooting.
The Lakers were able to solve these issues by acquiring Steve Nash, signing Antawn Jamison and Jordan Hill, and making other moves.
While each offseason move the Lakers made has its benefits, each also has negative aspects.
Here, I will examine the pros and cons of each of the Lakers’ offseason moves.
Lakers Acquire G Darius Johnson-Odom from Dallas Mavericks for Cash
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In 2011-12, the Los Angeles Lakers had the worst bench in the entire league—they scored a league-low 20.5 PPG.
Clearly the Lakers needed some bench scoring, especially at the guard position, and they fulfilled this need by acquiring the draft rights to Darius Johnson-Odom.
At 6’2”, Johnson-Odom is a combo guard who can help the Lakers’ offense with his shooting.
The Lakers were in the bottom five in three-point shooting last season and Johnson should certainly help—he shot more than 38 percent from three-point land during his final season at Marquette.
Although Johnson-Odom was a good scorer in college, averaging more than 18 points per game, it’s likely that his abilities will not translate to the NBA game.
During summer league, Johnson-Odom struggled mightily, averaging 3.8 PPG on only 23.1 percent shooting.
With his poor showing, it’s unlikely that he’ll produce for the Lakers or even see time on the court.
In addition, at 6’2”, Johnson-Odom is undersized to be a shooting guard, but also doesn’t possess the skills to be a solid point guard—he averaged only 2.7 APG in college.
Being turnover-prone well not help the Lakers, a team that was in the bottom half in turnovers per game.
Lakers Re-Sign PG Darius Morris
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Darius Morris didn’t see much playing time in his first season in the NBA—he played in only 19 games.
However, he has a lot of potential and the Lakers see that.
At 6’4”, Morris possesses great height for a point guard, and he knows how to pass the ball—he averaged close to seven assists at the University of Michigan.
Although Morris won’t play a lot, he will have the opportunity to learn from Steve Nash and Steve Blake and develop into the Lakers’ backup point guard of the future.
He has already shown signs of what he has the potential to become, as he averaged 15.2 PPG in 28.6 MPG during summer league.
Learning from Nash and Blake is a good thing, but the fact that Morris won’t be able to play may have a negative impact on his overall game.
Not being able to play in NBA games will hinder his development into a solid rotation player.
The fact that he’s a poor perimeter shooter who shot only 25 percent from three-point land in college will not help the Lakers, a team that struggled from the perimeter last season.
Lakers Acquire PG Steve Nash from Phoenix Suns for Draft Picks
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One of the Lakers’ biggest holes last season was at the point guard position.
This offseason, the Lakers addressed that issue by acquiring Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns.
Although he’s 38 years old, Nash is still capable of playing at a high level, and he will help the Lakers in a number of areas.
The most important thing that Nash will bring to the table is his passing skills. He will improve a Lakers’ offense that was stagnant at times last year.
Last season, 4.7 of Nash’s assists came at the rim and 1.1 came within 10 feet of the basket. He led the league in both categories.
If Nash was able to do that with Marcin Gortat, Hakim Warrick and Channing Frye, he’ll do even better with elite big men like Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, as well as with role players like Jordan Hill and Antawn Jamison.
Ideally, Nash will also benefit players like Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace by creating open jump shots for them.
The Lakers struggled from the perimeter last season, but Nash will help the Lakers improve in this area as a 40 percent shooter from three-point land.
By acquiring Nash, the Lakers received an elite point guard that can immediately help a team win an NBA title.
Nash’s glaring weakness is his defense.
Athletic point guards like Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Chris Paul haven’t had much trouble using their speed and quickness against the Lakers in the past, and they will continue to have an advantage with Nash as the Lakers' starting point guard.
In addition, although Nash averages double-digit assists, he is turnover-prone.
He averaged 3.7 turnovers per game last season, which may pose a problem this season.
Lastly, Nash’s age may be an issue.
The Lakers signed him to a three-year deal, but it isn’t certain whether Nash will be able to play at an elite level throughout the entire deal.
Lakers Sign PF Antawn Jamison
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Last season, the Lakers didn’t have many productive players to back up Pau Gasol. Troy Murphy and Josh McRoberts didn’t quite do the trick.
With the signing of Antawn Jamison, the Lakers will finally have a bench scorer that will provide some relief for Gasol.
Jamison is still capable of scoring, as he averaged 17.2 PPG last season. His average was close to how much the entire Lakers bench scored per game last season.
His six rebounds a game last season will also benefit the Lakers.
Furthermore, Jamison signed for the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 million, which means the Lakers can potentially get a very high reward for a low risk.
Jamison is still a capable scorer, but he is inefficient. In fact, Jamison shot only 40.3 percent last season. Because he needs so many shots to actually produce, he may become an offensive liability.
Additionally, Jamison is known as a poor defender.
While the Lakers can help resolve this issue by utilizing Jordan Hill, Andrew Bynum and others to back him up, Jamison can easily become a defensive liability as well. This will limit his production and his value to the team.
Lakers Re-Sign C Jordan Hill
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Jordan Hill was fantastic for the Lakers as a bench player at the end of last season, which is why re-signing him was a great move.
Hill will provide some relief for Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, and he will rebound and block shots at a high rate.
Hill may even erase some of Steve Nash and Antawn Jamison’s defensive mistakes by helping at the rim.
Although Hill proved to be a solid rotation player last season, he didn’t play in very many games.
He only played in five regular-season games, along with 12 playoff games.
Clearly, there isn’t a large sample size to determine whether Hill can be productive for a long stretch of time.
In addition, Hill isn’t a productive offensive player, which will make him a constant offensive liability.