The Los Angeles Lakers are a difficult team to figure out right now. Their roster was put together for a completely different coach who was running a totally different scheme. It lacks glue guys and young, capable role players who are willing to play their part. On top of that, there is nothing even remotely resembling chemistry between any of the three Future Hall of Famers currently active on the roster.
Because of what a mess L.A.’s situation is right now, it is difficult to pinpoint how exactly you go about fixing this ballclub. The obvious problem, because of injuries to Pau Gasol and Jordan Hill, as well as Dwight Howard not being at a hundred percent, is big man depth. Clearly the Lakers need some help with that. But this group also doesn’t have any real point guard depth either. Their starter is 39. Their backup is 32. Neither is capable of hanging with the league’s young, elite one-guards. This squad also lacks shooting, a legitimate defensive interior presence and any semblance of competency from the head coaching position.
Can all of that be fixed in the next few days? Unfortunately, no. But some of the issues can be addressed.
After the Lakers’ embarrassing 125-101 loss to the Clippers on Thursday night, reporters pressed Mike D’Antoni on what changes would be made over the next week.
"I’m sure (Lakers GM) Mitch (Kupchak) will evaluate the situation," he said replied. "If he deems that’s something we need to do, we will. We’re going the way we are right now."
When asked if he was planning on sticking with his eight-man rotation, D’Antoni gave a standard non-response response.
"It depends. If that’s what I’m comfortable today, yes."
Just a few days ago, you will recall, D’Antoni said this about possibly bringing someone else on board:
"We need to play guys who know the system," he told reporters recently. "We could bring somebody in to bring them on the bench for a while. But that doesn't make any sense for us either.
Make of those mixed messages what you will.
If L.A. does decide to pursue a big man, there are only a select few options available. We have broken them all down over the past few days, and nothing has changed since. It’s Lou Amundson, Kenyon Martin or Greg Oden via signing; DeJuan Blair or Ivan Johnson via trade. Those are the only guys the Lakers can get if they want to shore up the frontcourt. All could be brought in using the Jordan Hill disabled player exception. There are no other feasible options.
As far as these guys’ potential impacts: Amundson averaged 1.6 points per outing in 20 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves this year. Martin averaged 5.2 points per outing in 42 games with the Clippers last year. Oden has played in a grand total of 82 games since 2008. Johnson is averaging 5.8 points in 13.4 minutes per games with the Atlanta Hawks this year. Blair is averaging 5.4 points in about 14 minutes of action this season.
Those are the options. There are no game-changers available. If the Lakers want to improve and add frontcourt depth, it can only be one of those guys.
Will they ultimately pull the trigger on something? Maybe. Will it help them do anything this year? Probably not.