LA Lakers: 5 Point Guards To Sign To Bridge the Gap Before 2012 Free Agency
In contrast to years past, the Los Angeles Lakers seem to be in a state of desperation rather than in a state of confidence.
After being swept by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Playoffs, it was evident that the team was unmotivated and most importantly, old, especially at the point guard position.
Derek Fisher, the Lakers current starting point guard, has been an outstanding player for years.
However, at 37 years old, Fisher is unable to keep up with opposing point guards and his contributions have diminished.
Clearly, the Lakers addressed the point guard issue when they drafted Michigan’s Darius Morris in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft.
Nonetheless, Morris is very young at 20 years old, and it seems irrational and too risky to start him as early as next season.
Thus, the Lakers point guard issue is still a significant problem, and it is vital that the team addresses the matter as soon as possible.
Fortunately, there are a few free agent point guards that can help fill the void and make the Lakers transition at point guard much smoother.
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Aaron Brooks had a marvelous 2009-2010 season, when he averaged 19.6 PPG and 5.3 assists.
However in 2010-2011, Brooks' playing time and contributions declined, mostly due to injury.
Now that Brooks is a free agent, he has the opportunity to revive his career in a new home, and Los Angeles could surely be the perfect home for him.
As the Lakers point guard, Brooks would provide exceptional shooting—he shot 39.8 percent from three point land in 09-10.
If the Lakers begin to rely more heavily on their big men on offense, which is a big part of Mike Brown’s offensive plan, open shot opportunities could be created for Brooks as defenses begin to double team Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.
In addition to shooting the ball very well, Brooks can penetrate and score at the basket.
Although Brooks would be a great scoring option for the Lakers, his playmaking ability is still in question—he has averaged only 3.6 assists in his career.
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Mario Chalmers played pretty well for the Miami Heat last season, and he showed everyone that he is a great offensive threat from the three point line.
If he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, Chalmers’ great shooting would be very helpful.
He would certainly have his open opportunities, as opposing defenses would focus more on the Lakers big men.
In addition, Chalmers could fit well in Mike Brown’s defensive scheme.
Last season, Chalmers was a part of an elite Miami Heat defense, so it seems that he would learn from the Lakers new head coach.
Signing Chalmers would not solve the Lakers starting point guard situation, however—Chalmers would thrive more as a bench player than as a starter.
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T.J. Ford had an off year this past season, as he averaged 5.4 PPG and 3.4 APG in only 18.9 MPG.
Clearly, Ford, who is still only 28 years old, needs a change of scenery—the Lakers can certainly help revitalize his career.
Ford would give the Lakers some athleticism at the point guard position. He is very good at driving to the basket and he has good foot speed.
Most importantly, Ford is an above average playmaker. He has averaged 5.9 APG in his career, including a career high 7.9 APG in only 29.9 MPG in 2006-07.
Ultimately, the Los Angeles Lakers would get a complete point guard if they signed T.J. Ford.
It would be a risky signing, however.
Ford isn't a good shooter, and he has had numerous injuries in the past which may affect his play now and in the future.
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Certainly, Rodney Stuckey is more of a combo guard than a traditional point guard.
The Detroit Pistons selected a similar player, Brandon Knight, with their 8th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
A backcourt with two similar players has the potential of disrupting the Pistons offense, which could make Detroit an unattractive place for Stuckey to remain in.
Unlike Detroit, Los Angeles could be the ideal place for Stuckey to thrive.
Stuckey would give the Lakers much needed youth and athleticism at the starting point guard position.
In addition, Stuckey is an excellent at penetrating the defense—he can make plays at the rim in addition to drawing defenders and dishing out to open shooters.
Many don’t realize that Stuckey’s size is an advantage too—he is 6’5” and 205 lbs.
However, there is a downside in nabbing Stuckey.
Although his assist numbers have increased steadily in his years in the NBA, Stuckey doesn’t have very good playmaking ability.
Also, he doesn’t have a reliable jump shot. He is 26.6% shooter from behind the three point arc.
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J.J. Barea shocked the basketball world in the 2011 NBA Playoffs when he helped the Dallas Mavericks win their first NBA title.
At around 5’9” (he’s listed at 6’0”), it seemed like defenders could have easily blocked Barea’s shots. Surprisingly, Barea was able to get around defenders and score at the rim.
In addition, he had the ability of killing teams from the outside, hitting three point shots.
If Barea signed with the Lakers, I don’t believe that he would be the team’s starting point guard.
Instead, when the Lakers offense is struggling, Barea can come off the bench and infuse the team with a much needed boost of energy, becoming the ultimate lethal bench weapon.
Surely, there is a downside to this.
By adding Barea, the Lakers still have an issue on who the starting point guard should be.
Also, there could be a team chemistry issue if Barea is added—we all know how Andrew Bynum feels about him.