Just when it looked like the Los Angeles Lakers were finally starting to figure things out, the wheels have started to fall off. They’ve lost five in a row and have fallen to the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Part of the recent struggles has to do with COVID-19 and injury issues but it’s clear that this team still has major issues.
Arguably the Lakers’ worst player this season has been DeAndre Jordan. He has a team-worst -96 plus/minus in 27 games and 18 starts. He’s clearly not a good fit on the roster and Los Angeles would be wise to move on. The team figures to be active on the trade market and one interesting name to keep an eye on is Damian Jones.
The 26-year-old center was briefly on the Lakers last season before signing a contract with the Sacramento Kings. He’s fallen out of the rotation there but could be a fit back in Los Angeles thanks to his youth and athleticism. CBS Sports’ Sam Quinn would like to see the Lakers send the Kings a second-round draft pick.
The Lakers can’t simply just send a pick for a player as their roster is full. If they could pull it off, the team should see if the Kings would be willing to take Jordan off their hands. Sacramento is the 12th seed in the Western Conference and isn’t in the playoff race. They could take on a player like Jordan in order to get a draft pick out of it.
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Lakers Could Use Jones’ Athleticism With Anthony Davis Out
Jordan was once a great player but at 33-years-old, he’s not effective anymore. This issue is becoming more pronounced with Anthony Davis injured. The Lakers’ bigs lack athleticism and that’s bad when the team lacks great shooting and spacing. Jones can’t shoot but he’s young and athletic.
During his brief stint in Los Angeles last season, he averaged 5.4 points a game 3.3 rebounds. Those aren’t elite numbers but the Lakers would be better off with a player like him. Jordan clogs up the lane and can’t do much on defense anymore. Jones would at least provide more use on defense.
Do Lakers Need to Accept Harsh Reality?
There’s been a lot of chatter about trades the Lakers can make before the deadline but a lot of it is wishful thinking. Unfortunately, it’s highly unlikely that a savior is on the way for Los Angeles. The team isn’t trading Davis or LeBron James, making Russell Westbrook the only tradeable superstar. At this point in his career, nobody is going to give up valuable assets for the former MVP.
The Lakers just need to accept that this roster is what it is and they need to figure out how to win with it. They may not have the necessary pieces to win a championship but that’s what happens when you take big risks in the offseason. Los Angeles took a lot of risks and it’s not paying off. Unless they figure out how to make things work with mostly the same roster, it’s going to be a long season.