As the hunt for DeMarcus Cousins‘ replacement goes on, the Lakers have started to work out some free agent (or soon to be free agent) big men. Among those already brought in are former Lakers center Dwight Howard and longtime NBA veteran Joakim Noah while Marreese Speights is expected to work out for the team today.
Lakers Update: Dwight Howard & Joakim Noah Make Good Impressions at Workout
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, both Howard and Noah left a strong impression with the team that despite their age, they could be a useful addition to the roster.
Howard is still an extremely effective rebounder and rim protector. Though not as dominant as he once was, the Lakers will only need about 15-20 minutes of Howard on a nightly basis and he can still provide quality minutes in small doses. While he’s coming off injury and not as durable as the player who missed only seven games in his first seven seasons, the limited workload off the Lakers bench should help to keep him fresh and healthier.
For Noah, he brings an excellent defensive IQ to the table and while not the rim protector that Howard is, has shown to be extremely useful in shutting down pick and roll attacks while providing a big body capable of slowing down the Joel Embiids (read: big, physical, centers) of the world. While Noah struggled the past few years as a member of the Knicks, he had a bit of a renaissance year with the Grizzlies and showed that he can still offer a solid defensive presence and provide useful minutes.
While both players offer a strong defensive presence, neither offers a whole ton on the offensive side of the ball. Both are quality screen setters and while Dwight is a bit more of a lob threat compared to Noah, that difference isn’t too drastic now that Dwight is in his mid-30s with some miles on his body. While neither can effectively stretch the floor with three-point shooting like DeMarcus Cousins, beggars can’t be choosers at this point in free agency and the Lakers need to make do with the best available options.
Marreese Speights Set to Take Part in Lakers Workout
Along with Howard and Noah, the Lakers are bringing in free-agent big man Marreese Speights to take part in an individual workout as well. Speights was out of the NBA altogether last season, though he did have a dominant year in the Chinese Basketball Association. A very solid shooter for his size, Speights offers the Lakers bench a stretch dimension that neither Howard and Noah is capable of bringing to the table. In fact, from an offensive perspective, his fit is likely the strongest of any player the Lakers are working out given his ability to consistently knock down the deep ball.
While he isn’t as strong defensively as Howard or Noah, it seems the Lakers are hoping that his offensive fit with the team is able to outweigh any shortcomings that could arise defensively if they take a shot on him.