Offseason Moves LA Lakers Must Consider to Revamp Bench
There were a number of reasons the Los Angeles Lakers disappointed during the 2012-13 campaign, but primary among them was the team's lack of depth.
After a season of relying far too heavily on the team's aging starting unit, the Lakers now have an opportunity to overhaul their bench with several low-key signings. It's important to note that the Lakers won't be able to make a big splash, because the team already has more than $78 million committed in salary for next season, according to HoopsHype.
As such, the team will only be able to take advantage of the mini mid-level exception and veteran minimum contracts in order to revamp their second unit.
Note: All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference unless noted otherwise.
Physically, Al-Farouq Aminu and Earl Clark are rather similar. Aminu measures out at 6'9" and 215 pounds while Clark is a sturdy 6'10" and 225 pounds.
While signing Aminu may seem redundant with Clark already on the roster, Aminu is the stronger defender and rebounder by far, with Clark being the better scorer. Still, the two possess similar skill sets which the Lakers so desperately need.
The Lakers could use some explosiveness out of their wings, especially after a season of dealing with Antawn Jamison's lethargy. Aminu fits the bill and would likely come cheap because he's been labeled a lottery disappointment after three years in the pros.
Last season, Aminu averaged 7.3 points (on 47.5 percent shooting) and 7.7 rebounds per game with the New Orleans Hornets.
While the Los Angeles Lakers could use some added offensive punch on the perimeter, they're sorely in need of committed defenders.
Whether it was in transition or the half court, the Lakers struggled on the defensive end in 2012-13. Allowing opponents to score 106.6 points per 100 possessions, according to Basketball-Reference, the Lakers ranked 20th in defensive rating during a wildly disappointing start to the Mike D'Antoni era.
At 6'7" and 220 pounds, Ronnie Brewer has fantastic size for a wing defender. And while Metta World Peace continues to be the Lakers' go-to stopper on the perimeter, they could use some reliable depth behind him.
It feels like a rather safe bet that we could see Brewer don another uniform by the start of next season.
If there's one thing the Los Angeles Lakers need to do this summer, it's add some youth and energy at the small forward position. Metta World Peace's knees are deteriorating with age, and after seeing what a player of Antawn Jamison's caliber provided last season, a youth movement is in order.
One way to shore up depth at the small forward position would be to sign Wesley Johnson, who enters this summer an unrestricted free agent.
On the surface, Johnson doesn't have a ton of appeal. He may soon be on his third team in four years, and has failed to average more than 10 points per game once over his first three seasons.
But the fact that Johnson hasn't met expectations could make him a bargain this summer.
Let's face it: There aren't many 25-year-olds (soon to be 26) with room left to grow who could come so cheaply. Given the minimal wiggle room the Lakers possess financially, Johnson is one of the few young commodities whom the Lakers could realistically acquire to revamp their bench.
One area where the Los Angeles Lakers found moderate success last season was three-point shooting. They ranked third in threes attempted and fourth in makes, but just 19th for three-point field-goal percentage (35.5).
Should Mike D'Antoni continue to push an offensive system that maximizes possessions and values pace (the Lakers ranked fifth in pace last season, according to Basketball-Reference) they would be wise to make a play for a proven three-point specialist who can knock down shots in transition.
The Lakers attempted to make a similar move when they signed Jodie Meeks last summer, but his first season in L.A. was anything but prosperous.
If the Lakers choose to decline Meeks' team option for next season, a nice replacement could be acquired in the form of Anthony Morrow.
A 42.4 percent shooter from three for his career, Morrow is capable of filling it up, and fast. Morrow's also shot 45.1 percent from the floor over five seasons thanks to a quick release and consistent shooting off of the catch.
Backup point guard isn't a major area of need for the Los Angeles Lakers, but considering Steve Nash's age and the soon-to-be expiring contracts of Steve Blake and Chris Duhon, Will Bynum could be a nice addition to the team's backcourt.
And, conveniently enough, Vincent Ellis of the Detroit Free Press has reported (via Twitter) that the Lakers are among the teams interested in acquiring Bynum.
Bynum's never been more than a rotation player in the pro ranks (averaging 18.5 minutes per game for his career), but he has always been a capable scorer.
According to Basketball-Reference, Bynum is likely to thrive in a bigger role, evident by his per-36-minute averages. Last season, Bynum averaged 18.8 points and 6.8 assists per 36 minutes.
While he may not see his minutes double with a new franchise, an expanded opportunity with a contender would be beneficial for both Bynum and the Lakers.