5 Point Guards That Can Run the New L.A. Lakers

Sida LuCorrespondent IJune 24, 2011

5 Point Guards That Can Run the New L.A. Lakers

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    Los Angeles Lakers fans everywhere suffered a rude awakening when the quest for the three-peat and Phil's last push came short in the second round of the playoffs—to the "choker" Dallas Mavericks

    While the team struggled, three things became more and more clear:

    Firstly, the mileage on Kobe is getting too great, and he has lost a lot of speed and quickness.

    Secondly, Pau Gasol was either really fatigued or had his confidence shot early in the playoffs.

    And lastly, while Derek Fisher may have contributed a lot to this franchise, it is time to find a new starting point guard.

    This last point became painfully evident as J.J. Barea, all 6'0" of him, carved the Lakers defense up time after time, running by Fish (and even Kobe) like they were standing still. With a new coach and a new system, there is no better time for the Lakers to find a new backcourt mate for Kobe.

    What the Lakers need is a quick, defensive/athletic point man to shut down opposing guards and save Kobe's legs as much as possible...so without further ado, here are five viable options to run the new Lake Show.  

Raymond Felton, Portland Trailblazers

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    With the Lakers leaning towards a more traditional offense, the point man will take on a more traditional playmaking role, which is why Raymond Felton of the Denver Nuggets has to be considered.

    Height: 6'0"

    Strengths: quick, good court vision, bulky and strong 

    Weakness: Short, which limits the passes he can make and things he can see; shaky jump shot 

    Analysis

    Part of the 2005 draft class, Felton has not been able to match the starpower and play of draftmates Chris Paul and Deron Williams but has been able to carve out a niche for himself in the league with good strength and playmaking abilities. His speed somewhat mitigates his lack of size (6'0"), and he is in the last year of his contract, making him very attractive to a capped out Lakers team.

    Furthermore, Kobe has been known to be a great influence on improving jump shots (see Trevor Ariza before and after the plan Kobe gave him), so one of Felton's weakness may even be neutralized.

    Felton is also in a timeshare at Denver, splitting minutes pretty evenly with Ty Lawson. However, it is clear that Lawson will be Denver's point guard of the future (contract option for 2012-2013 picked up) and Felton has repeatedly said that he wants starter minutes (like he received in New York), which makes a move to the Lakers ideal for both parties.

    Update: Felton has since been traded to the Trailblazers, where he will have a slightly larger role but may not handle the ball as much with Brandon Roy around. This puts Andre Miller into the conversation, although he would not be as good of a fit as Felton. 

Devin Harris, Utah Jazz

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    Since blossoming and becoming an All-Star in 2009, Harris has gradually slipped out of the spotlight with several struggling Nets teams. He was reportedly not happy being traded to the Jazz either, making a move probable. 

    Height: 6'3"

    Strengths: Nice one-on-one game, good court vision, good slasher, good passer 

    Weakness: No outside shot; unable to space the floor  

    Analysis

    Devin Harris is the type of young, speedy point guard that gives the Lakers fits, so why not acquire him? His best play has come alongside veteran players, which the Lakers certainly do not lack. Although his lack of an outside shot will be a problem, his ability to play the passing lanes and the havoc he will cause consistently slashing into the opposing defense will more than mitigate the problems.  

Jonny Flynn, Houston Rockets

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    With the arrival of Ricky Rubio in Minnesota, it looks like Jonny Flynn's days are numbered. He has thus far been unable to live up to his fifth overall pick status and has struggled with injuries. He has also yet to receive consistent minutes.  

    Height: 6'0"

    Strengths: great character, explosive, good mid-range game 

    Weakness:  unable to space the floor, cannot shoot the three, small, slightly injury-prone  

    Analysis

    Jonny Flynn can certainly play, as anyone can see from his college days—the only problem is a consistent role and battling injuries. Under consistient veteran tutelage, there is no doubt Flynn will mature quickly and his quick, explosive slashing will disrupt the defense, allowing Laker bigs to dominate the boards on putbacks and offensive rebounds.

    Update: Flynn has since been traded to the Rockets, where he will either be the second string point guard, behind Kyle Lowry, or the third, behind Goran Dragic. Either way, the Rockets now have a lot of guards (Martin, Flynn, Lowry, Dragic, Lee, Williams), and it is still highly possible that Flynn or even Dragic will be moved.   

Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets

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    Although landing a proven star like Hornets point guard Chris Paul is a long shot, the Lakers have had a proven track record of targeting (and acquiring) the best talent in the league. Paul may also welcome the move to a bigger market and the endorsements/ national attention that comes with being a Laker.

    Height: 6'0"

    Strengths: quick, great court vision, great pick-and-roll player, good at playing passing lanes

    Weakness: short, which limits his on ball defense; isn't always able to balance his passing game and scoring game; loves to dribble.

    Analysis:

    Paul is slated to become a free agent the same summer as Dwight Howard—2012. Then, it is highly likely that "The Decision" Part II occurs, with Dwight wanting to move to an even bigger market, and his Magic consistently struggling and regressing. Paul is in a similar situation, with the Hornets cash strapped and stuck in mediocrity and could force the front office to move him or lose him for nothing.

    In a sign and trade, the Lakers become a very viable destination; after all, who doesn't want to play in Hollywood?    

Aaron Brooks, Pheonix Suns

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    Aaron Brooks won the Most Improved Player award in 2010 and seemed to all but lock up the Rockets starting point guard job. But then injury hit and Kyle Lowry quickly took over, and before Brooks knew it, he was shipped out of town to be a backup for the Suns.

    Height: 6'0"

    Strengths: quick, developed jump shot, great scorer

    Weakness: very small, better scorer than playmaker

    Analysis:

    Despite what Brooks might say, he desires starting minutes while minutes in general are hard to come by when you back up Steve Nash. Because of his height, Brooks is also unable to play the off-guard spot, further limiting his opportunities.

    This makes a move all the more likely, given that it is a contract year for Brooks, and it would be in his best interest to showcase his talents as much as possible.

    Also considered for the list: Kyrie Irving, Tony Parker, George Hill, Andre Miller

    For more 2011 NBA draft coverage, stay tuned to Bleacher Report for NBA draft results and NBA draft grades

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