One of the Lakers’ more vocal signings from this past offseason, Jared Dudley hasn’t been afraid to speak his mind to the press on a number of topics. Dudley is clearly excited about the prospects of playing alongside two superstars in LeBron James & Anthony Davis – yet has also seemingly taken a liking to young forward Kyle Kuzma.
Jared Dudley Praises Possible Lakers’ Free Agency Target, Zaza Pachulia
In the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins injury, the Lakers seem adamant on keeping Davis at the power forward position and instead, finding another center to come in and back up JaVale McGee. While there aren’t many “sexy” picks left on the open market, there are some quality veteran big men capable of providing at least 10-15 minutes of decent basketball per night.
While from an athletically, a player like Kenneth Faried makes a lot more sense from a schematic perspective, Zaza Pachulia might be able to give the Lakers some high-quality minutes despite his mobility issues. As Dudley mentions, Pachulia is an extremely smart player and while known for having a bit of a dirty streak, is the sort of big man who happily does all the little things that don’t show up in the box score. He won’t offer James and the ballhandlers a legitimate roll option on offense but he will wisely defend opposing bigs and has the crafty skill set to annoy much quicker perimeter players should he get switched out of position.
While likely not the Lakers’ first option, Pachulia could still serve as a viable option off the Laker bench should the strikeout elsewhere.
Other Lakers’ Backup Big man Targets
As mentioned above, Kenneth Faried is still an available free agent and showed last season he can still produce solid numbers on the back of his trademarked high-energy style of play. Known for outworking his opponents on the glass, what Faried lacks in height compared to other big men, he more than makes up for with his overall hustle. He won’t offer the Lakers a shooting threat but will give them a quality roll target who can rebound and give the team some quality defense.
Similar to Faried – just older and slightly bigger – is Nene Hilario. Nene is also known for his elite motor and while he is getting older, he showed he can still give a team useful minutes last season. Injury and durability concerns are extremely valid given his age but at his best, Nene gives the Lakers a hard-working big with heaps of NBA experience.
Another possible option is former Laker Dwight Howard. Howard is currently awaiting a (likely) buyout to make him a free agent and the Lakers are one of the few teams left with the roster flexibility to bring on another big man right now. While a Howard-Lakers reunion would be interesting given how the previous relationship fell apart, he would be the most talented option in the player pool by a longshot.