Lakers Rumors: Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah 'Left Impression' They Could Help LA

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 23, 2019

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 23:  Joakim Noah #55 of the Memphis Grizzlies shoots the ball against the Minnesota Timberwolves on March 23, 2019 at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers are searching for a new big man after DeMarcus Cousins suffered a torn ACL this offseason, and free agents Dwight Howard and Joakim Noah appear to be options.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles "completed workouts and meetings" with the duo on Thursday and the two "left impressions that they could be helpful to the team." 

Wojnarowski also mentioned that the Lakers brought in free agent Marreese Speights on Friday.

Howard, 33, averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds in nine games for the Washington Wizards in an injury-shortened season due to glute and hamstring ailments.

Noah, 34, posted 7.1 points and 5.7 rebounds in 16.5 minutes per game for the Memphis Grizzlies.  He impressed off the bench and even posted his highest player efficiency rating since 2013-14, per Basketball Reference.

Either player could provide minutes at the five, although the situation down low isn't dire considering the Lakers have a six-time All-Star forward/center in Anthony Davis who can easily fill that position.

On the surface, Noah seems like a better fit than Howard despite the latter player's better scoring and rebounding production.

Of note, Noah is a much better facilitator (20.6 percent assist rate last year vs. Howard's 2.6 percent) who can keep the ball moving to the Lakers' top scorers, such as LeBron James, Davis or Kyle Kuzma.

On the other end, Noah is the better defender right now. He finished 16th in defensive real plus-minus last season, per ESPN.com, while Howard ended 38th. Team defense is an area for improvement, as the Lakers finished just 15th in efficiency last year, per ESPN.com.

ESPN's Jalen Rose believes Noah should be the pick, as he explained on Get Up!:


Of course, Howard can still be a productive player: He nearly averaged a double-double in just 25.6 minutes per game last season.

However, as far as placement in the Lakers rotation goes, Noah seems to check off more boxes.