Lakers Rumors: L.A. Smart to Target Veteran Backup for Kobe Bryant

Pete Schauer@@Pete_SchauerCorrespondent INovember 27, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 16:  Injured point guard Steve Nash (2ndR) of the Los Angeles Lakers follows the game from the bench with his teammates from left Metta World Peace #15, Jordan Hill #27, Dwight Howard #12 and Kobe Bryant #24 against the Phoenix Suns at Staples Center on November 16, 2012 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.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Kobe Bryant is arguably the best the NBA has seen in the past decade, but even 34-year-old superstars could use a breather every now and then.

At 26.9 PPG, Bryant leads the NBA in scoring while shooting 51 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc. Still, as Bryant ages, it's hard to imagine that he can sustain shooting the ball for such high percentages for an 82-game season.

But maybe he won't have to.

According to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears, the Lakers are seeking depth at the shooting guard position in the form of Mickael Pietrus and Raja Bell.

Add Mickael Pietrus to list of FA guards @lakers inquired about recently,source tells Y! @wojyahoonba reported LAL interest in Raja Bell,too

— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) November 24, 2012

Analyzing the Lakers' depth chart and scoring statistics through 14 games this season, it's clear to see Los Angeles needs depth behind Bryant at SG, as backup Jodie Meeks is averaging a mere 4.8 PPG and just 1.4 RPG.

The bigger issue?

Meeks is averaging just 11.9 minutes per game, meaning that Kobe is spending far too much time on the court for an aging superstar.

That said, the idea of adding Pietrus or Bell is more than just a luxury—it's a necessity.

You can argue that the Lakers are 7-7 because of Mike Brown's offense or Steve Nash's injury, but the fact of the matter is that L.A. needs help behind Kobe.

Adding 30-year-old Pietrus would bring postseason experience to the Lakers and a player who already has a relationship with big man Dwight Howard. Pietrus is a career 42 percent shooter, including 35 percent from beyond the arc.

While Bell looks like the better option because of his postseason experience and a relationship with Steve Nash, his age is a problem. The 36-year-old might be a career 46 percent three-point shooter, but if the Lakers are looking for someone to backup Kobe, odds are they don't want someone who is older than him.

With nine years of experience, Pietrus has good size and could even serve as a backup to Metta World Peace at the SF spot. 

Aside from averaging a respectable percentage from three-point range, Pietrus can defend against some of the best scorers in the league, as we've seen him do against guys like LeBron James.

Like it or not, the Lakers need to add more pieces in order to be a championship contender come the spring, and adding Pietrus is a step in the right direction for L.A.

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