NBA Trade Rumors: Why the Lakers Still Need to Make a Trade to Be a Contender

Jacob RudeContributor IIIJanuary 6, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers turns as Brian Cook #34 of the Los Angeles Clippers falls during the game at Staples Center on December 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2011 NBAE  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Lakers have been about as inconsistent as can be this year. Following last night's loss to the Blazers, they are 4-4 and haven't looked very good so far.

Really, the only good part of this season has been Andrew Bynum's dominating performance. His 21 point, 12 rebound performance was actually one of his worst performances of the season. He's been absolutely dominant this season, averaging 22.3 points, 15.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks a game. He's making Lakers fans say "Dwight Who?"

That being said, the Lakers aren't going to be serious contenders with this team. Their inability to even remotely stop a point guard is going to kill them. Just take a look at the numbers for opposing PGs this year

Derrick Rose—22 points, 9-13 FG

Tyreke Evans—20 points, 6-13 FG, 7-12 FT

Ty Lawson (two game average)—13 points, 9 assists, 8-19 FG, 9-12 FT

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Kyle Lowry—22 points, 10 rebounds, 9 assists

Jamal Crawford/Raymond Felton—25 points, 13 assists, 6 rebounds

In those six games listed, the Lakers are 2-4, and the two games they won were by just three and nine points. The Lakers other two wins came against the Jazz and the seemingly PG-less Knicks.

Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls puts a shot up against Pao Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game at Staples Center on December 25, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloadi
Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Basically anytime the Lakers face a semi-decent point guard, they can't handle him, and more times than not, lose the game. While the Lakers do have size, they don't have athleticism to match up on the perimeter.

While the Lakers have a clear size advantage, their lack of athleticism and defense on the perimeter are going to kill them. Which is why they need to use the few trade chips they have to make a move.

While many criticized the Lakers trade of Odom for a first-round draft pick, it's not looking too awful right now. Odom is sucking it up in Dallas, totally out of shape and looking lost. He's averaging just 6.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and shooting 27percent from the field. And he isn't the only one in Dallas not doing too well, making the draft pick the Lakers have more and more valuable.

Now, do I think that'll even be a lottery pick? No. But I do think that it'll be a better pick than people thought when the trade was made. Maybe the Lakers saw Odom was out of shape in camp and dealt him. Maybe they know something we don't. Regardless, they do have two No. 1 picks and can use them.

However, I don't want them waiting around and using them for Dwight Howard. While I'd love to have him over Bynum, Otis Smith is playing hardball and is going to wait, which the Lakers can't afford to do. In this shortened season, the Lakers have little time or room to make mistakes. The Lakers need to go out and get a point guard who knows how to defend better than either Steve Blake or Derek Fisher, which really isn't saying a lot.

In an article from earlier this week, it was rumored D.J. Augustin was on the trading block. He'd be a perfect addition to this Lakers team. He wouldn't cost much to get and wouldn't demand the ball from Kobe. There are other names that could make sense too: Luke Ridnour or Jeff Teague (I don't think he's available, though).

The trade I would like the best, if the Lakers could pull it off, would be bringing in both Andre Iguodala and Jrue Holiday for possibly Pau Gasol, Matt Barnes and both first-round picks. The money might not add up, but the pieces are there. The team would take a huge step forward defensively with those two, and Josh McRoberts showed early this season he could be productive as a starter.

The point is, the Lakers NEED to make a move, not for Dwight Howard, but for a smaller piece. The lack of athleticism is going to be their Achilles heel as point guards will run circles around them all season long if they don't do anything about it. Dwight Howard isn't going to solve their back-court problems and the longer the Lakers wait for him, the worse off they're going to be.