Many Laker fans feel that Danny Green’s performance in the 2019-20 season has been a disappointment. In actuality, the 10-year veteran is a key part in the Los Angeles Lakers fulfilling their potential and winning an NBA Championship.
Danny Green is a player that certainly has his critics throughout fans across the league. Many believe the Green Ranger hasn’t been worth the $30 million contract he signed with the Lakers back in 2019.
In all fairness, when looking at Green’s stats on face value, they can be considered slightly disappointing. He currently averages 8.2 PPG, 1.4 APG and 3.4 RPG. If we compare those numbers to the season he had in 2018-19 while he was with the Toronto Raptors, we’ll see that he has suffered a drop of 2.1 PPG, 0.2 APG and 0.6 RPG.
With all that considered, the Lakers still need Green’s contributions in order to compete for an NBA Championship. Let’s take a closer look at what Green brings to the table.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green joined Max Kellerman, Stephen A. Smith and Molly Rose on a recent episode of ESPN’s First Take. Green was asked a series of questions regarding the suspension of the season as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
During a segment of the show, Green was asked about the communication he was having with teammates since the abrupt suspension of the season.
“We haven’t had physical contact since the Brooklyn Nets news broke… we communicate via text, we have a group chat so we talk through there”, Green said.
Moments later Rose directed a question regarding the possibility of the season being resumed. Green stated his concern but also his confidence in the continuation of the 2019-20 season.
“Very concerned. I don’t think it will be over, but the postponement can effect us in a good or bad way. Especially if it takes a long time to get back… the sooner the better for us”.
Danny Green on First Take
You can catch a clip from Danny Green’s appearance on ESPN’s First Take below:
On March 19, the Los Angeles Lakers announced publicly that two players had tested positive for COVID-19. Widely known as the Coronavirus.
The two unnamed players, along with the rest of the roster and staff were placed into quarantine. They were already doing so as the NBA suspended its season on March 11 due to the concerns of the virus spreading among players. But the levels of seriousness stepped up a level with the Lakers’ recent statement.
Danny Green hosts a podcast called Inside the Green Room, along with friend and journalist, Harrison Sanford. On March 21, both Green and Sanford hosted an episode speaking to numerous NBA players about the league’s suspension and being in isolation.
One of those players was Lakers center, JaVale McGee. When asking about whether he has distanced himself from the basketball season, in terms of winning a Championship, McGee opened up about it being a rare opportunity to rest.
“I’m on vacation, I’m not gonna lie. They’re literally forcing us to do nothing. I’m trying, for at least this week of quarantine, trying to take advantage of that. To where I can really just chill and do nothing. We don’t have this opportunity ever in our lives. We’re working out every day, we’re in the gym, we’re travelling. We’re just always doing something.”
However, the 32-year-old did stress the importance of staying prepared as it is unknown as to when NBA basketball will return. Stating that he’s very much got a week-to-week mindset whilst in isolation.
We have the vision of the future being just more isolation, but what if they’re like ‘oh we’ve found a cure’ next week and the season starts in another week. I’ll be like at least we’ve got a week to workout, at least I wasn’t just focused on other things.
Check out the full episode where JaVale McGee’s segment is from the very start up to approximately 15 minutes in. Serge Ibaka of the Toronto Raptors, Rudy Gay of the San Antonio Spurs, and Harrison Barnes of the Sacramento Kings also feature.
Fans of the purple and gold had questions about this newly formed Lakers squad. We are finally getting answers.
The Los Angeles Lakers have now played 21 games, representing the approximate quarter-mark of the 82 game slog that is the NBA regular reason.
By all accounts they have exceeded expectations, winning 18 of those 21 games and showing in the process instant chemistry that was not widely expected for a team with so many new faces.
Yet as the preseason began, there remained considerable uncertainty about how good this Lakers team would ultimately be.
The superstar core of LeBron James and Anthony Davis essentially guaranteed playoff basketball if healthy, but the ultimate potential of the team, all observers agreed, would ultimately depend on the performance of the role players and coaching staff.
In a season preview, we boiled down the uncertainties surrounding this team to four key questions, the answers to which would provide essential information about how good they could potentially be. A quarter of the way through the season, we are beginning to get enough information to answer those questions with some confidence.
Are perimeter players hitting open 3s?
By far the most important of the four questions because if defenses have to respect the Lakers’ perimeter shooters James and Davis cannot be held in check offensively.
The uneven shooting records of Avery Bradley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Rajon Rondo, and Alex Caruso prompted some skepticism that the Lakers’ spacing would be sufficient to maximize their star duo. Poor 3 point shooting in the preseason and the first couple games of the regular season seemed to justify that skepticism.
Then, that abruptly changed. In November the team shot 36.9% from three, respectably above league average. In the ten game span ending with Friday night’s game against the Washington Wizards, they shot a league-leading 40.1%. They also won all of those games.
The most encouraging sign about this shooting-spree has been that it isn’t centered around one or two players. Danny Green remains Danny Green, shooting 38.1% on an even 5 attempts from three per game.
Caldwell-Pope, after an excruciatingly slow start shooting the ball, has caught fire so quickly he is up to 38.3% from three on the year.
Kyle Kuzma, discussed below, is also shooting very well after a cold start, his post-eye-poke slump notwithstanding. Perhaps most surprisingly, notorious bricklayer Rajon Rondo is shooting an eye-popping 48.4% on almost 3 attempts per game.
While Bradley and Caruso have both languished in the sub-30% range shooting the long ball this year, enough of the Lakers perimeter players have made their shots that they currently sit 8th in the league in offensive efficiency, up from 24th last year.
In short, the answer to this question so far has been yes.
The Lakers are punishing opposing defenses for sagging away from shooters to help defend James and Davis, and that punishment forces a reaction, in turn creating more space in which the stars can operate. It is a proven formula for James, and Davis can do more to exploit it than any player he has ever played with. As long as the Lakers have 2 or 3 credible three-point threats to use around them, the team’s offensive success is absolutely sustainable.
Are the Lakers able to use drop coverage to guard the Pick and Roll without bleeding points?
In the last ten seasons, the traditional big man has died in the NBA. The end of the league ban on zone defense in 2002 made it easier to contain bruising, physically dominant bigs in the post by eliminating the requirement that helps defenders stay attached to their assignment or commit to a full double-team.
Then the LeBron James-led Miami Heat and more recently the Golden State Warriors demonstrated to the league that effective spacing can run slow bigs off the court defensively while zone principles can limit their offensive impact. They have been banished from the highest echelons of the NBA accordingly.
The remaining niche for athletic bigs who don’t have quite perimeter-level quickness is to be a rebounding rim-protector and screen-setter in the mold of Rudy Gobert or Clint Capela. In order to employ those bigs effectively, it is generally necessary to have perimeter defenders capable of fighting over screens quickly, so that slower bigs aren’t forced to switch onto smaller, faster playmakers.
The Lakers play two such bigs in JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard.
It is of great importance that the perimeter defenders on the team maintain pressure and consistently fight over screens to avoid compromising the ability of the bigs to stay close to the rim. Fortunately Bradley, Caldwell-Pope, Green, and Caruso have shown the ability to shoulder their part of the defensive burden.
The downside of drop coverage is that the mid-range jump shot is generally left open, between the perimeter defender fighting over a screen and the defending big dropped behind the screen. Players with effective mid-range shots are more effectively defended by switching, provided the big involved is capable of defending the perimeter player in question.
One of the best defensive signs of the young season has been Howard’s ability to hold his own against faster guards on the switch. It has been years since we’ve seen this sort of quickness on his feet from Howard, and he has remained at or near the top of the team in defensive rating all year. If he sustains the trend, the Lakers may not need to be so dependent on defending the screen and roll with drop coverage in the playoffs, as both he and Davis could plausibly switch onto guards from the center position.
McGee, on the other hand, has had uneven defensive performances because of his tendency to chase blocked shots. He has made a career out of making guards think they have a lane to the basket only to erase the shot at the last moment.
The problem with that tactic is if the player employing it is, like McGee, inconsistent in judging the ability of the guard to exploit the window, he ends up giving up a number of free layups.
Even with that caveat, the Lakers are a top-five team in defensive efficiency and have shown the ability to put the clamps on opposing offenses in crunch time. By and large, everyone is playing into their role defensively, coach Frank Vogel has put together a sound scheme, and the results are plain to see.
Is Team USA Kuz translating to the NBA?
Before being diagnosed with a stress reaction in his leg, Kuzma had an excellent run at the Team USA training camp this summer. His defensive intensity had significantly improved in his second year, and with Team USA he began to make better defensive reads as well. Most tantalizingly, he showed off a slightly modified shooting stroke that seemed to be improving his consistency from deep.
In returning from his injury, Kuzma initially struggled. Having missed training camp, preseason, and the first games of the regular season, he needed several games to settle back into the pace of NBA play. Since then, his shooting has been excellent. His overall numbers – 33/3% on 4.4 attempts per game – remain short of what might be hoped for. Yet in his last eleven
games, including three duds hampered by an ankle sprain, he has shot a clean 41% from three-point range.
Defensively, the result so far from Kuzma has been a mixed bag.
Conditioning and injuries have jointly conspired to keep him from playing his best immediately, and it remains to be seen if he will be a good enough perimeter defender to deter teams with elite talent from hunting him, as Pascal Siakam and the Toronto Raptors did in the Lakers’ second loss of the season.
Accordingly, the verdict on Kuzma remains out. On the whole, the shooting numbers are particularly encouraging because what this team needs most from Kuzma is for him to be a reasonably efficient third scoring option when he is on the floor. Even if his defensive play this summer was a mirage, shooting the 3 and scoring effectively will be enough to keep Kuzma on the floor for significant minutes.
If Kuzma can provide a solid scoring output from the bench, this alleviates a lot of pressure on the shoulders of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, allowing for them to rest for longer periods and stay healthy for a playoff run.
Has the team and the staff avoided drama and stayed focused?
Of the four questions addressed here, this one had the greatest potential to keep this team from becoming the best version of itself.
Lakers fans have seen all too clearly in recent years how efficiently poor coaching and organizational dysfunction can hide talent on the court. There was also an unusually large number of chemistry variables at play this year, ranging from the coaching staff to the star duo to the role players.
Thankfully, none of those potential distractions have materialized. Vogel has shown himself to be a sensible and adaptable coach, which has contributed significantly to the Lakers’ blistering start. Assistants Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins were widely suspected this summer to be eager to take the reins should Vogel fail early. On account of the team’s early success and Vogel’s contributions to it, even NBA Twitter has largely stopped making jokes about Kidd’s ambitions.
Vogel’s job seems very secure for the short term, and that is absolutely what is best for the team. The Lakers, as all fans are aware, attract more than enough media attention to their every move on account of their success and location. Hitting a rough patch early in the season could have been fatal for a team trying to build trust in the new coaching staff and between many new players. In addition, their strong start has given the staff enough credibility that when the inevitable rough patch comes, they have the tools necessary to weather it.
The Next 20 Games
In the first quarter of the regular season, the Lakers have shown themselves capable of doing the things they need to do to win a championship this year. Yet even proven capability on its own is far from a guarantee (see Houston Rockets). But given that we were wondering before this season whether the Lakers had a championship-caliber roster, these early results are extremely encouraging.
What we know after 21 games is that the Lakers have the talent and personnel to be a title contender. What we will find out in the next 20, particularly during the brutal run of games they have scheduled for December, is whether they have the mental and physical toughness to execute under adversity. We will learn a lot more about this team in the coming games, and they should learn a lot more about themselves. For now, Lakers fans should relish being able to watch basketball played at the highest levels for the first time in a decade.
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Following Kawhi Leonard‘s decision to snub the Los Angeles Lakers to join cross-city rivals, the Los Angeles Clippers, Rob Pelinka and Co. moved fast to form a competitive roster in an alternative manner.
The Lakers signed the likes of Danny Green, Quinn Cook, DeMarcus Cousins, Avery Bradley, Troy Daniels, and Jared Dudley, whilst also retaining the talents of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, and Alex Caruso. All construct a deep, experienced roster that is expected to challenge at the very top of the NBA in the upcoming season.
Many are praising the Lakers’ front office for the moves made so far. The atmosphere surrounding the franchise is a lot more positive than it was just a few months ago. It’s debatable whether the Lakers will be favourites to win the 2019/20 NBA title, but they should be there or thereabouts, depending on health.
We have brought some UK fans on board to give their views on a variety of topics, including; Kawhi Leonard, the Lakers’ off-season moves so far, the last roster spot, expectations moving forward, and more. Please welcome Mark, Jonathan, Ryan, and Timi.
Q: On July 10, Kawhi Leonard opted to sign for the Los Angeles Clippers over the Lakers and Raptors, what were your thoughts on his decision?
Mark:“Initially I was gutted. The prospective fit of Kawhi alongside AD and LeBron was so tantalising. In the end though he chose the Clippers, so I can only pity him.”
Jonathan:“My first reaction to Kawhi signing with the Clippers was like a gut punch. I think most Laker fans bought into the reports linking him to the Lakers because numerous high profile reporters who seemed to be in the know leaned heavily towards the Purple and Gold. After the initial shock wore off and the Lakers landed some very solid pieces who fit in within the team dynamic and direction the gut punch turned into optimism for the coming season.”
Ryan:“I was annoyed with the length of time it had taken for the decision. I did feel like it had been one big game and that he probably had no intention of coming here in the first place. At the same time I wasn’t all too disappointed as it allowed us to go out and gather players to build a better team with depth.”
Timi:“Honestly at first I was disappointed but then I started to think about all these great duos in the league, and how exciting the NBA is going to be! I’m a Lakers fan first but I care about the whole league. Plus, the Lakers did well to build a solid team that I think can go up against anybody. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of competition.”
Q: Following Leonard’s decision, the Lakers took an alternative route and built a deep roster. We’ll get into specific players soon, but was this a good route for the franchise to take? Is it better throughout an 82-game regular season, plus playoffs, than Kawhi?
Mark:“I would take Kawhi over the alternatives any day of the week and twice on Sunday. You can have all the depth you like, good luck beating Kawhi, AD and LeBron.”
Jonathan: “I definitely think that the Lakers made the right decision in going for depth rather than adding another max player. Maybe if they were given the choice they might have chosen another max guy but with Kawhi taking so long most of the top players came off the board. I am firmly of the belief that Kawhi was the only player worthy of the Lakers giving up all of their cap space.”
Ryan:“Kawhi can’t play all season, he was having more nights off than anyone else this past season and missed a full season through injury not that long ago. I’m glad we’ve been able to add depth with quality players who can perform well instead of hedging our bets on a big 3, where we weren’t guaranteed to have all 3, all season.”
Timi:“I think that time will tell, but let’s not forget that Kawhi himself needs load management. Having a deep team around 2 superstars, and a couple guys who could have star seasons in Kuz and a healthy Boogie, is nothing to complain about. If Kawhi is on the table you go for him, but given what the Warriors went through, perhaps the alternative is better.”
Q: The Lakers’ first signing after the news was Danny Green, who was the last premier “3 and D” player left on the market. In the guard category overall, the purple and gold secured KCP, Cook, Rondo, Caruso, Bradley, and Daniels. What are your views on each signing? Is that enough shooting around LeBron and AD?
Mark:“Signing Green felt like a small victory and an important one. The other signings are OK – Rondo aside. I just don’t get re-signing Rondo. For the likes of KCP, Cook and Bradley, there is potential value there, but they all need to have bounce-back seasons. Fortunately, that is made a lot easier when you’re playing with 2 superstars.”
Jonathan:“I am hopeful that the likes of Danny Green and Avery Bradley can add the defense and 3-point shooting we need and I feel the likes of Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley and Troy Daniels can give us extra shooting off the bench. I think the Lakers added the perfect amount of fire power and defense to the roster to compliment LeBron and AD. One more solid Small Forward would round out the roster nicely.”
Ryan:“I feel like we are still lacking one player, ideally it’s Iggy as I feel his playoff and big game experience could be key in the last few months of the season. I wasn’t overly happy with the idea of KCP coming back as I’m not too sure what he adds at all. Rondo could be a great addition if he understands he’s for use in the second unit. Cook I really like and can be a great asset in the long run as can Caruso.”
Timi:“I think there’s plenty of shooting to go around. Danny Green is one of the best in the league, Cook and Caruso are also snipers (more than 40% from deep). But then you’ve got guys like Bradley, KCP, Kuz who can all put up shooting numbers above league average. Let’s not forget that Rondo shot 36% last year, although at very low frequency. At the very least, he’ll be able to knock down the open shot, which I think is all we’ll need from him.”
Q: DeMarcus Cousins has joined the party too, on a cheap deal. Was this a good move for the Lakers? With JaVale McGee re-signing, who do you think should start at center?
Mark:“Signing Cousins was a great move. The upside could be phenomenal. I would try and ease Boogie into the starting lineup. One thing we learned last year is that JaVale can contribute, but he cannot play starters minutes.”
Jonathan:“If the Lakers value floor spacing then signing Cousins was essential. While Davis can shoot from the 3-point line, he seems to do most of his damage in the paint. Having JaVale start would lead to a clogged lane and would affect the floor spacing. I firmly believe Cousins should be the starter and hopefully he can return to the beast we saw in Sacramento and New Orleans.”
Ryan:“I’d start AD at 5 but he’s said he doesn’t want to play there. I think it’ll be difficult to play AD, Bron, and Boogie as they’re all going to operate in the same areas. If you can’t convince AD to play the 5 then I’d play JaVale and have a duo of Boogie and Rondo leading the second group.”
Timi:“I think Cousins could be the most underrated signing of the off-season. If he’s healthy there’s no debate: he starts. When last healthy he averaged 26/12/5, and was the best big man in the league. People are acting like he’s still hurt, but he’s not only healthy but has lost weight! I can’t wait to see him out on the court in October.”
Q: Alongside Zach Norvell Jr, the Lakers signed Kostas Antetokounmpo on a two-way contract. This means that Giannis is going to be a Laker in 2021, right? In all seriousness, what do you think of the Kostas Antetokounmpo signing?
Mark: “You could argue that getting Kostas Antetokounmpo is a little like signing KCP a few years ago. We had the roster and cap space back then and it gave us a channel to LeBron. Let’s see if he gets a workout with Kobe? (Or tacos with LeBron?).”
Jonathan: “Kostas Antetokounmpo is all potential at this moment in time. He is a low risk, high reward signing. I don’t think he will ever be Giannis but he has the physical tools that usually translate well in the NBA. The main reason the Lakers signed Kostas however is to have a line to Giannis for free agency in the future. Hopefully Kostas can develop nicely with the help of Phil Handy and become a good player but I wouldn’t hold my breath.”
Ryan: “I think he’s a project and a good long-term project who could be a huge asset to the team in a few years, and naively I do believe it’s being used as part of a long term plan for Giannis at the same time.”
Timi:“Haha tampering alert!! No but seriously I hope it works out for him. I question how much time he’ll get for the Lakers, but if he shines for South Bay who knows. One thing that could help is being around guys like Caruso and Cook, who will know what he’s going through. And hey, if he gets a KCP deal in before the 2020/21 season, then we know what’s about to go down!”
Q: There is 1 roster spot available, who do you think the Lakers should fill it with?
Mark:“The Lakers should keep the roster spot open for Iggy, for as long as that is possible.”
Jonathan: “If he gets bought out, Andre Iguodala would be the perfect signing to back up LeBron. He would be a crucial piece in the playoffs. I wouldn’t be against the Lakers getting Carmelo Anthony providing he accepts a lesser role off the bench. If Melo can shave off the pounds like Boogie Cousins has and plays a role then he can possibly help the Lakers. If he refuses then I’d go after someone like Vince Carter. I’d love to see a motivated Vinsanity chasing a ring in his last season.”
Ryan:“Wait for the Iggy buyout and if it doesn’t come then make a play for Livingston, simply because of what he can bring in terms of experience for the latter part of the season.”
Timi:“If he becomes available, it has to be Iggy. A veterans veteran, who can play top defense, comes alive in the Playoffs, can shoot an open jumper, and is crazy clutch! I understand Memphis trying to trade for him, but I hope they do allow him to move on if they can’t get a good deal, which seems unlikely.”
Q: Now we know the makeup of the roster going into the 2019/20 campaign, how many wins are you expecting? What is your minimum expectation for next season?
Mark:“I would hope this team gets above 45 wins. My minimum expectation is to beat the Clippers. If that means getting to the NBA Finals, all the better. No good setting expectations low. We probably have 2 years left of LeBron, our expectations should be 2 Finals appearances and 1 Championship.”
Jonathan:“I think if the Lakers stay injury free they can get 55+ wins. They need to make sure not to run AD or LeBron into the ground but I can see them being a very good regular season team. Anything short of the Western Conference Finals would be a big let down. This team is built to win.”
Ryan:“55 if AD and Bron can remain healthy, maybe more if the second unit can do what they couldn’t last season and contribute to whatever the first unit lay out. If all parts contribute and we find the right system and if LeBron playing the point can work defensively then I think 55 is a good target.”
Timi:“I think 53 wins in the regular season. There will be some trials early on, but we’ll head into the postseason behind Houston, Utah, and Denver, who I think are more equipped for the regular season, and take the 4th seed. The minimum expectation is the WCFs, barring catastrophic injury. I think we’ll get the 4th seed, but the postseason? Well, that’s a different story entirely..”
In the early hours of July 6, Kawhi Leonard shocked the NBA world and opted to join the Los Angeles Clippers, over the Toronto Raptors and the Los Angeles Lakers. Leonard signed a 3-year, $103 million deal with the Lakers’ cross-city rivals. The Clippers paired him with Paul George, of whom they traded for to secure Leonard’s signature.
The Lakers were holding out in the hope that Leonard would lean towards the purple and gold, instead Pelinka and Co. have been forced to take an alternative route, in an attempt to build a championship contender.
Almost instantly after the Kawhi news, we were bombarded with numerous Laker signings. It’s safe to say, so far, the front office deserve praise. They’ve built a deep, talented roster that is more than capable of pushing for championship honours. Whether they get over the line is another thing, but they should certainly be in the mix.
32-year-old Danny Green was the Lakers’ first signing after being dealt the Kawhi Leonard news. Green has signed a 2-year, $30 million deal. He was the premier ‘3 and D’ player left on the market, and it was expected that the Dallas Mavericks would offer a larger, lengthier deal, but the purple and gold secured their man.
The 6-foot-6 guard won the second NBA Championship of his career last season, whilst at the Toronto Raptors. On his way to championship glory, he posted averages of 10.3 points, 4 rebounds, and 1.6 assists, whilst shooting an incredible .455% from 3-point range. Throughout his career, Green is a .404% shooter from beyond the arc so he does perform at a consistent rate in that category.
Defensively he plays hard too. A solid addition on both ends of the court.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be returning to the Lakers on a 2-year, $16 million deal. The shooting guard out of Georgia does split opinion within the Laker community, and rightly so. Some days he can be lights out from a scoring standpoint and really hold his own defensively, then other days he can simply disappear and barely contribute.
It is easy to forget that Caldwell-Pope is still only 26-years old. In the past few seasons for the purple and gold, he has been developing as a player and understanding his role on the team. In his first season, the Lakers signed him to a 1-year, $18 million deal, and now he will be returning at a considerably less, more reasonable, rate.
If he can actively contribute off the bench, he can be a useful piece. Knocking down open 3s and locking in defensively at a consistent rate will result in a successful season from KCP.
The 2-time NBA Champion, JaVale McGee, was one of the only bright sparks in an all-but miserable season last time out for the Lakers. He played hard and filled a void at the center position. Suffering pneumonia mid-way through the season slowed him down unfortunately, but overall it really isn’t a surprise to see the 31-year-old return to Los Angeles.
Playing 20+ minutes for the first time since the 2010-11 season, McGee averaged a career-high 12 points per game last season. He offered a strong rebounding game, along with interior defense, where he finished 5th for the most blocked shots in the league.
It may be too much to expect McGee to play considerable minutes in a starting role, but in a sensible center rotation he can definitely be an effective player.
Quinn Cook has quite a remarkable NBA story. From going undrafted in 2015, to learning his trade in the then NBA D-League, before signing a 10-day deal with the New Orleans Pelicans, then earning a spot in the Golden State Warriors‘ rotation, to winning an NBA Championship in 2018.
Last season for the Warriors, Cook featured in 74 regular season games, averaging 6.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.6 assists. He also featured in 17 playoff games, including the NBA Finals, which will provide further postseason experience to the Lakers’ roster. He has signed a 2-year, $6 million deal.
Throughout his short NBA career so far, Cook has established himself as a solid spot-up shooter. Averaging .418% from 3-point land over 121 games. As a point guard that is just 6-foot-1, he does come with his defensive worries but his offensive game is why he was brought in. After-all, players like Green, Caldwell-Pope, etc, can be moved over to cover his defensive workload.
For many years DeMarcus Cousins has been linked with the Lakers, as a star player. Well, Cousins now joins the purple and gold on a 1-year, $3.5 million deal. Since suffering an Achilles injury in January 2018 whilst at the New Orleans Pelicans, the 28-year-old has been on the long road to recovery. For the 2018-19 season, he opted to join the Golden State Warriors on a $5.3 million, mid-level exception.
It was expected that Cousins would be out until early 2019, at the very least. Cousins did make his comeback ahead of schedule, featuring in his Warriors debut in January 2019. Through the remainder of the campaign the 6-foot-11 center played 30 regular season games, averaging 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.5 blocks. In the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs Cousins tore his quadricep, which ruled him out until game 1 of the Finals.
Before injuring his Achilles, DeMarcus Cousins was undoubtedly an elite talent with the Sacramento Kings, averaging 25+ points, 12 rebounds, along with a host of assists, steals, and blocks. He is a low risk, high reward acquisition. The Lakers getting him for less than the Warriors signed him for is a steal. Plus, an Achilles injury is commonly a 2-year injury, of which Cousins is nearing the end of.
With a full off-season under his belt, Cousins should be nearing 80% healthy. Even a partially fit Cousins should be able to contribute 15-20 points and 10 rebounds per game, you would think. Which would be more than enough for this Lakers team, alongside LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Co. If he nears 100% fitness, he could very well be the 3rd star in the team.
Fingers crossed he can stay healthy!
Returning alongside Caldwell-Pope and McGee, is Rajon Rondo. The 33-year-old point guard has signed a 2-year, minimum deal with the Lakers. Last season he posted averages of 9.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1.2 steals.
He endured an up-and-down season last time out, where at times he looked a solid piece within the Lakers roster. Namely in the Christmas Day win at Golden State, and with his buzzer-beater winner at his former home, TD Garden. But for the majority of, he was underwhelming. Defensively he was a liability and he appeared to simply lack effort in the latter part of the season.
Nonetheless, the Lakers have opted to bring Rondo back. The point guard pool in this free agency period was sparse, so he does fill a void. Additionally, a recent report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports suggests that the Lakers have intentions of starting LeBron James at point guard for the upcoming season. As a result, Rondo could feature off the bench under limited minutes.
Much like Quinn Cook, Alex Caruso‘s NBA journey is a feel-good story. After going undrafted in 2016, Caruso hit the then D-League with the Oklahoma City Blue, before securing the Lakers’ first ever 2-way contract, splitting his time between the NBA team and the G-League affiliate team, the South Bay Lakers.
After lighting up the G-League during the 2017-18 season, but failing to impress in the NBA, Caruso was handed another 2-way deal for the 2018-19 campaign. It was in this season where the 6-foot-4 guard impressed. In 25 games he averaged 9.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1 steal, on .455% shooting. From 3-point range, Caruso shot at a blistering .480% rate. On April 5, 2019, he recorded a career-high 32 points in a victory against the Clippers.
In his short time with the Lakers, Caruso has become a fan favourite and rightly so. He plays hard, and is clearly talented. For the upcoming 2019-20 season, Alex Caruso has signed a 2-year, $5.5 million contract. With it comes another opportunity to shine, this time on what is expected to be a winning team.
After playing the first part of last season with the Clippers, and the second with the Memphis Grizzlies, Avery Bradley was recently waived and hit the free agent market. Almost instantly, the Lakers snapped Bradley up to a 2-year, $9.7 million deal.
Being highly regarding as a top-level ‘3 and D’ player throughout the majority of his career, Bradley has experienced a decline in recent years. After excelling with the Boston Celtics between 2010-2017, he was traded to the Detroit Pistons, where he continued his impressive play. But then injuries hit and he was moved onto the Clippers. This stalled the 28-year-old guard’s progress.
However, in the latter part of last season, with the Grizzlies, Bradley appeared to regain some form. In 14 games, he averaged 16.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2 assists, on .463% shooting (.384% from 3). Even through the last few years where his play has dropped, his defense hasn’t. Through his 11-year career so far, Avery Bradley has built a reputation for being one of the best perimeter defenders in the league. The Lakers were in clear need of a defensive wing, and they have their man. If Bradley can regain his offensive spark, the Lakers may have grabbed a steal.
Troy Daniels was the 1st player that the Lakers signed this off-season, as they were waiting on Kawhi Leonard’s free agency decision. The general consensus through the last decade-and-a-half has been to surround LeBron James with shooters. With that, Daniels fits the bill.
The 27-year-old guard is a .400% career 3-point shooter. He will most likely see limited minutes behind a deep, talent Lakers roster, but when called upon, Daniels should do a job. He has signed a 1-year, $2.1 million deal.
33-year-old Jared Dudley was the 2nd player that the Lakers turned towards, whilst waiting for Leonard. Signing a 1-year, $2.6 million deal, Dudley adds a smart, veteran presence to the locker room.
He may not be the flashiest of players, but veterans like Dudley are a pivotal to the success of any NBA team. He will provide a calm head to a team that includes many strong personalities, who could clash from time-to-time.
On the court, Dudley is capable of contributing. In 20 minutes with the Brooklyn Nets last season, he posted averages of 4.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Defensively he is tough, and can certainly hold his own.
The Lakers’ roster so far:
Rajon Rondo (G), Alex Caruso (G), Quinn Cook (G), Danny Green (G), Avery Bradley (G), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (G), Troy Daniels (G), Talen Horton-Tucker (G/F), LeBron James (F), Kyle Kuzma (F), Jared Dudley (F), Anthony Davis (F/C), DeMarcus Cousins (C), JaVale McGee (C).