In November of 2012, the Los Angeles Lakers were reported to have interest in signing shooting guard Raja Bell (via Yahoo! Sports). Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports now reports that head coach Mike D'Antoni remains intrigued with the prospect of acquiring Bell.
As desperately as the Lakers need defense, acquiring Bell wouldn't solve their most glaring weakness.
The Lakers currently rank 23rd in scoring defense and 17th in opponent field-goal percentage. For that reason, one might be inclined to believe that Bell's defensive prowess could help turn L.A.'s season around.
Unfortunately, the addition of a 36-year-old won't provide the perimeter athleticism that the Lakers so desperately need.
The Lakers are running an up-tempo offense in which their interior advantage has not been properly exploited. As a result, the Lakers have become a jump-shooting team that relies on their veteran legs to carry a heavy load.
When tasked with defending the younger and more athletic generation they're competing with, they often fall short of expectations.
With this being known, one can't help but wonder when the Lakers are going to acquire an athletic perimeter player. After all, this isn't a new issue for L.A.
It's been plaguing them since 2011.
Recent Postseason History
The common trend was that the Lakers were not athletic enough to defend the perimeter.
In 2011, the Mavericks shot 46.2 percent from beyond the arc as a team. They did so while averaging 12.3 three-point field goals made per contest.
A direct result of the Lakers being unable to close out on the perimeter.
In 2012, Kevin Durant shot 51.6 percent from the floor and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc. Russell Westbrook converted 48.5 percent of his field-goal attempts.
Even as Kobe Bryant kept James Harden in check, the Lakers could not win more than one game. The reason was simple.
They weren't athletic enough to defend the perimeter.
Change of Mentality
The Los Angeles Lakers are a team who abides by the mentality of "championship or bust." For that reason, it isn't too difficult to understand why they'd rather acquire an established veteran over unproven youth.
If the Lakers are going to turn their franchise around, they must abandon that mentality.
Without athletic legs on the roster, the Lakers will be unable to compete in a conference that is dominated by up-tempo offenses. In a league in which the motto "adapt or die" rules all, L.A. has fallen victim to the latter.
So why would they add yet another player older than 30?
Bell could potentially contribute to an NBA franchise in their pursuit of a title. With that being said, the Lakers have proved more than any other franchise that paper rosters are meaningless.
If it doesn't fit, don't try to wear it.
Rather than pursuing an aging player that coach Mike D'Antoni is familiar with, L.A. should be looking to improve their perimeter athleticism. This will enable them to compete with the younger teams come the postseason.
As nice of a sentiment as it is for Bell and D'Antoni to reunite, it just isn't what the Lakers need to turn their season around.
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