Lakers Rumors: Josh Smith Would Be an Upgrade over Pau Gasol

Mike HoagCorrespondent IINovember 21, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 08:  Lamar Odom #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives between Josh Smith #5 and Joe Johnson #2 of the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on March 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Rumors about the Los Angeles Lakers looking to acquire 26-year-old hybrid forward Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks have resurfaced after a couple of months of silence.

Marc Stein of said that the Lakers “have had internal discussions for months” about the possibility of bringing in Josh Smith for his utility around the rim and as a shooter.

Despite the Lakers’ continued interest for Smith, the feeling doesn’t seem to be mutual in Atlanta right now, according to Stein’s report:

Sources say that the Hawks, at present, have no interest in parting with Josh Smith and Kyle Korver for Gasol. Or even Smith and lesser parts for Gasol.

While there are still some differences in asking price and value in a potential trade scenario, the fact that discussions are continuing means there is some possibility of something going down before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

Let’s take a look at why the Lakers should do whatever it takes to make this happen.


The System

Mike D’Antoni’s system requires a fourth shooter to help stretch the defense. Gasol does have range but isn’t able to step out behind the three-point line. Smith would give the team that extra element from behind the arc.

He isn’t a great shooter from that distance, 27 percent for his career, but is definitely an upgrade over Gasol in that regard.

Smith’s high-energy play and ability to score from a variety of ways makes him a highly desirable asset over Gasol.


It’s Prime Time, Baby

Youth is just another big plus for the Lakers in a deal like this. Their roster has begun to get older and the team needs to consider making some moves in order to combat that. They’ve traded away a lot of their draft picks, meaning they need to bring in youth through other avenues.

Plus, Smith is reaching the top of his game. He’s been an All-Star over the past two seasons and has been dominant around the rim during that time. As big of an offensive threat as he is, he’s also quick, athletic and tough enough to help shut down the paint and defend against stretch forwards like himself on the perimeter.