5 Shooters the L.A. Lakers Should Target to Flourish Under Mike D'Antoni
Mike D'Antoni has started out his tenure with the L.A. Lakers to a hail of criticism and uncertainty. With an under-.500 record to start off, D'Antoni has a lot of work to do.
Despite Steve Nash being hailed as the Lakers' savior once he comes back to help fully implement D'Antoni's system, the Lakers' issues go far beyond that.
The premise to their offense is to utilize four shooters to supplement a big man and his ability to attack the paint via the pick-and-roll and the fast break. Although the Lakers have some very talented personnel, they may not have all the tools necessary on their bench to conform to this premise.
With Antawn Jamison getting the lion's share of the minutes at the 4-spot due to Pau Gasol's under-performing play because of the system or his injured knees, there aren't a lot of other players on the Lakers roster that fit the bill.
Though Jodie Meeks and Steve Blake can stretch the floor, and Kobe Bryant and Metta World Peace are mainstays in the starting lineup that can definitely hit the three-point shot, the Lakers still need some shooters off of their bench in order to really maximize the effectiveness of D'Antoni's system.
There may be a few shooters in the free-agent market who are still available for the Lakers to target in order to supplement their core players and further the implementation of the D'Antoni system.
After doing damage to his ACL and MCL on two separate occasions, Michael Redd is a shell of the Olympian he used to be.
However, in a small sample size of 15.1 minutes per game in the 51 games he played last season with the Phoenix Suns, Michael Redd was still able to put up a modest 8.2 points on 31.8 percent shooting from three-point range.
Though he isn't the shooter he used to be, he can still be a steadying force off of the bench with his veteran experience.
Although his percentages may have dropped off, he still has to be respected from distance, and that's exactly what D'Antoni needs from his role players. D'Antoni needs players that can stretch the floor for his big man to do work in the paint, and Redd can provide that in limited minutes.
Having not played a game of NBA basketball since late 2011, Eddie House's limited perimeter defending skills had dwindled as his career reached its conclusion.
Having never been a top-tier defender or offensive creator, House made a name for himself in the league by being a shooter.
More specifically, it was House's ability to shoot the three ball and stretch the floor that made him a dangerous weapon.
For this year's L.A. Lakers, many of the Lakers' perimeter players like Steve Blake and Steve Nash have the same deficiency House does: They cannot guard quicker and faster guards.
However, holding onto the hope that a 100 percent healthy Dwight Howard will be able to cover most of their defensive breakdowns in the paint, House would be able to be another shooter in an offensive system that is reliant on outside shooters to stretch the floor.
Furthermore, he wouldn't be required to play too many minutes and would be the third-tier option at both guard positions.
In the limited minutes he would play, House would mainly be a decoy on the outside and would only be required to hit his open shots, not create for others.
Maurice Evans had very minimal statistical output last season for the Washington Wizards but proved that he could still shoot from distance to the tune of 37.8 percent from three-point range.
He's a feistier defender on the perimeter than Steve Nash, Steve Blake or either of the other two players mentioned thus far in this article at this point in all of their careers. This makes him a more feasible option on the free-agent market.
With some athleticism left in the tank, modest perimeter defending ability and the above-average shooting stroke from three-point range, Maurice Evans would be a good addition to the Lakers bench.
Despite rumblings about how high maintenance he is, Delonte West remains one of the most talented players in the NBA that isn't currently signed.
Due to some behind-the-scenes drama involving players within the Dallas Mavericks organization, West has been left without a team entering this NBA season.
However, with his ability to handle the ball, play pesky defense on the perimeter and hit his open jumpers, West would be a perfect backup guard at either position.
He could also be considered an upgrade of Steve Blake, whose only true purpose on the team is to shoot.
West can hit that open shot while also providing gritty play on both ends of the court.
However, his bouts with bipolar disorder and his history as a high-maintenance player may make him hard to manage for any coach not named Phil Jackson.
Despite all of this, playing alongside a tough veteran such as Kobe Bryant may help West settle down and utilize his skills in a positive manner for the team.
Back in his prime, Mike Bibby was one of the most prolific scorers in the league.
The tandem of Bibby and Chris Webber in Sacramento also proved that the guard could put up big numbers in games that mattered.
At this point in his career, Bibby brings leadership and playoff experience to a team that could use some discipline in the second unit.
Furthermore, despite playing most of last season out of shape, Bibby was able to finish off the season strong and average 41.2 percent from three-point range in the playoffs.
Now professing to be in better shape, a healthy Bibby could give the Lakers a Derek Fisher type of contribution off of the bench.
While not a great defender on the perimeter anymore, Bibby knows how to play in clutch situations and is a reliable three-point shooter.
Not only can he stretch the floor for D'Antoni's system, he could also help direct the second unit's entire offense with his savvy and experience.