With the Los Angeles Lakers limping to the finish line in the 2018-2019 season, it was evident some changes needed to be made. Despite the team performing well when healthy, the Lakers inability to stay on the floor was their Achilles heel. With the clock ticking on the “LeBron in LA” timer, the Lakers should be one of the more active teams in both free agency and the NBA Draft.
With only seven players under contract for next season, the Lakers should have considerable cap flexibility along with holding a lottery pick in the NBA Draft. While it is far from a guarantee that anyone comes to Los Angeles, despite them having the money, the Lakers will at least make a run at a few of the premier free agents that grace the class of 2019.
Los Angeles Lakers Draft & Free Agency Biggest Needs: Outside Shooting
The Lakers biggest need in the NBA Draft and Free Agency is finding some outside shooting help. While LeBron James isn’t a bad three-point shooter, he isn’t great and neither is Lonzo Ball. With both ballhandlers not posing much of a threat from behind the arc, the Lakers desperately need shooters in order to space the floor and open up driving lanes (or easy kickouts) for James and Ball. Caldwell-Pope and Bullock are both free agents and there is a solid chance that neither is back in the purple and gold next season.
Kyle Kuzma seems to be an effective floor-spacing option as a small ball four and Brandon Ingram has shown the ability to slide down and effectively play the two guard position, so the Lakers at least have some pieces in place to start. However, both Kuzma and Ingram need to get consistently better over the course of an entire season from deep and the Lakers need to bring in (or draft) an established sharpshooter to play off the Lakers.
Los Angeles Lakers Draft & Free Agency Biggest Needs: Reliable Interior Play
Another big need for the Lakers is reliable interior play from the center position. With both JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler hitting the free agent market this offseason, the Lakers only have Moritz Wagner on the roster as a true center. Wagner has shown the ability to contribute but is far from ready to step into an everyday role in the NBA. While he can step back and hit the three, he doesn’t offer much in the way of rim protection or rebounding over NBA bigs.
Especially with playmakers like James and Ball, the Lakers system needs a quick and athletic big man who can run the floor as an outlet for easy buckets on the receiving end of James and Ball dimes. Wagner isn’t the most athletic and doesn’t offer too much upside in that regard but does look to be a decent option to run out as a versatile role player moving forward. That said, the Lakers still need a starting caliber option to anchor their defense and help clean up the glass.