NBA Trade Speculation: 5 Point Guards L.A. Lakers Should Target Post-Lockout
Derek Fisher is 37, and while he is still a commendable floor general, he is not going to help Los Angeles return to championship form. Fisher's lack of mobility and athleticism makes the Lakers vulnerable in the backcourt, even with Kobe Bryant.
Steve Blake, Fisher's backup, isn't the answer either. He doesn't understand the workings of being a facilitator enough to be truly effective, and he is prone to making questionable decisions with the ball.
Where does that leave the Lakers? No place good, as the clock is ticking on Bryant's career. Chris Paul and Deron Williams would be great solutions to Los Angeles' problems, but the cost—more than likely Andrew Bynum—is too high unless a capable big man is coming back in return as well.
If Los Angeles wants to upgrade its point guard spot without depleting its low post, it is going to have to look beyond the superstars who may or may not become available.
Setting their sights on a offense-directing savant—who won't necessarily cost an arm and a leg—needs to be the course of action the Lakers take post-lockout.
Is Ramon Sessions capable of leading the Lakers to the NBA Finals? Nothing he has done in the league so far has indicated he is ready for such a task, but to be fair, he hasn't been in the best of situations.
Sessions averaged 13.3 points and 5.2 assists in just over 26 minutes per game last season. He is extremely effective with the ball in his hands and has the ability to create offense for himself, as well as for others.
There is no denying Sessions' potential impact, and while he is no Chris Paul, he is only four years deep in the NBA and spent most of that time on the chopping block. We cannot forget that he is still only 25 and more than capable of improving.
No, Sessions has never been the unquestioned floor general, but he has performed admirably amid constant uncertainty, leading one to believe he would thrive with more stability. Also, don't forget that Sessions has never had a safety net to dish off to, and Kobe Bryant is that net if the NBA has ever seen one.
What Sessions lacks in terms of experience, he makes up for in athleticism, making him a clear upgrade over Derek Fisher. His unselfishness makes him a great fit alongside Bryant, and his fondness for feeding big men would be a sure-fire hit amongst the Lakers' low-post crew.
Sessions' inexperience makes him a slight risk, but his potential upside makes him a risk worth taking.
At 37, Steve Nash's performance over the last few seasons defies everything we thought we knew about the correlation between age and the NBA.
Nash is elusive as ever, and at times, it seems as if he has eyes in the back of his head. The point guard's awareness is through the roof; Nash knows where everyone on the court is at all times.
While Nash is an unselfish beast, he is a scoring threat as well. He can burn defenders on his way to the basket and is also adept from behind the three-point line.
When it comes to Nash, the Lakers have to be willing to part with Lamar Odom, among others, which could prove quite difficult to do in exchange for someone Nash's age. What it really comes down to is how many more seasons Los Angeles sees Nash playing.
If Nash is going to stick around for two or three more years, is it worth it? Certainly, as he would undoubtedly keep Kobe Bryant and company in the hunt for a title. Should Nash be ready to retire in a year or seem inclined to take his talents elsewhere, he does become an unnecessary risk. That is unless Los Angeles picks him up at a discount.
Either way, a phone call to Phoenix's front office to lay the groundwork for what it would take to get the savvy veteran in purple and gold wouldn't hurt.
D.J. Augustin is an incredibly crafty point guard, and he could prove attainable now that Kemba Walker is in town.
Augustin put up 14.4 points and 6.1 assists per game for the Bobcats last season, and at only 24, he has huge upside. He is a deft passer and can score from anywhere on the floor. He also plays tough defense, allowing him to defend against both backcourt positions.
Can Augustin be instrumental on a championship-caliber team? With the right supporting cast, certainly. Whether or not Augustin is headed for stardom is debatable, but he has proved more than knowledgeable of the ins and outs of his position.
Much like Sessions, Augustin has never had the star option to pass off to. He is a solid floor general but is not the playmaker Steve Nash is. That being said, the Lakers wouldn't necessarily need Augustin to make everyone around him much better; they just need him to utilize his supporting cast's talents efficiently.
Currently, utilizing Los Angeles' offensive strengths is something Derek Fisher has become deficient in. With Augustin, the Lakers would know they are getting an unselfish player capable of scoring. Should he turn into a superstar, great, but if not, consistency is just as important a fit.
One that would help rekindle the Lakers' championship aspirations.
Devin Harris hasn't been able to stay completely healthy over his seven-year career, but when he has been on the floor, he has shown the ability to be quite effective.
The 28-year-old Harris boasts solid court vision and is an overall effective floor general. His ball-handling skills are stellar, and he uses his quickness on both ends of the floor well. While his first instinct is to pass, should he see an open lane or catch a defender sleeping, he is not afraid to take the rock to the rim.
Harris is also one of the better perimeter defenders in the game. He uses his quick hands and feet to prevent his opponents from getting to close to the basket.
Without Harris, the Utah Jazz don't have a capable starting point guard, yet the team seemed open to moving him and the nearly $18 million he is set to make over the next two seasons prior to this year's draft.
Los Angeles has an array of packages it could put together for the streaky veteran point guard. Steve Blake is a possibility, as he is more affordable and just as quick, which may suit the Jazz for the interim as they begin to rebuild.
Darius Morris could also be an option, as Utah comes with a learning curve much more lenient than that of the win-now Lakers. Don't count out the inclusion of Derek Fisher either, as he is cheaper and provides more of a veteran insight than Harris.
Harris is a clear upgrade over Fisher, as he is both quicker and a bigger scoring threat. His unselfish tendencies mean he would thrive alongside Kobe Bryant, and his added offense could be just the backcourt push the Lakers need to regain that championship flair.
Los Angeles would be doing itself a great disservice if its front office didn't contact Utah post-lockout to inquire about Harris' availability.
Many are quick to cite Steve Nash's late-30 accolades, but Andre Miller's performance has also been quite impressive.
Miller averaged 12.7 points and seven assists in just over 32 minutes per game last season. He boasts the perfect balance between agility and strength and has some of the best court vision in the league.
At 35, Miller hasn't missed a beat. He is still quick on his feet and an effective workhorse on both ends of the floor. While other potential targets for Los Angeles lack experience, Miller has 12 seasons to his name. His on-court prowess and general knowledge of the game would prove extremely valuable to the Lakers and their championship hopes.
When the Blazers dealt the veteran point guard to the Nuggets, Miller instantly became Ty Lawson's backup. Lawson is still unproven, but if Denver didn't bench him in favor of the borderline All-Star play of Raymond Felton, Miller doesn't stand a chance.
This is all good news for the Lakers, though, as it means that Miller is expendable to the Nuggets. At his age, most would be delegated to a backup role, but he is clearly still a full-time orchestrator.
With Miller, the Lakers do not get much younger in the backcourt, but they get a hell of a lot more dangerous, as his presence cannot be ignored the way Derek Fisher's can.
Inquiring about Miller is a phone call the Lakers need to make, as he is a potential addition that helps re-instill the dominance that ought be associated with purple and gold.
You can follow Dan Favale on Twitter here @Dan_Favale.
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