All right, so the Lakers can’t shoot. But is the answer really a former Ivy Leaguer who has played 11 NBA games, spent most of his career bouncing through the G League and suffered a nasty ankle injury a little more than a year ago? Could it really be a guy who could not find a spot with the Orlando Magic?
As veteran reporter Marc Stein noted on Thursday, the G League affiliate of the Magic is making a deal to trade the rights of former Princeton point guard Devin Cannady to the Lakers’ G League affiliate, the South Bay Lakers. That doesn’t mean Cannady is bound for L.A., and any team in the league is still eligible to sign him. But it does put Cannady in the team’s orbit, making him a particularly easy call-up.
And if you ask folks around the league about Cannady, they’ll tell you his one strength is the Lakers’ most glaring weakness: Shooting.
“I have always liked him because you know what he can do, he can shoot it,” one Western Conference assistant coach told Heavy Sports. “I’ve watched him since Princeton, and you can see all the downsides of him as a player—his size, defense, he’s one-dimensional. I get all that. But if you can get him into the corner, he is going to knock those down at a ridiculous rate, like 60%. And he can make them from all over, he’s deadly. He is more Seth Curry than Steph Curry but still, he can play, he just needs a chance. He has not gotten into the right situation.”
Lakers Would Have to Find a Roster Spot for Cannady
To be sure, it is not clear that the Lakers would be the “right” situation for Cannady. For one thing, the Lakers have a full 15-man roster, having decided to keep Matt Ryan to be the kind of deadeye shooter the team lacks. Ryan’s deal is not guaranteed, though, and the Lakers also have the option of letting go of one of their two-way players (Cole Swider and Scottie Pippen Jr.), giving that spot to Cannady.
There is no doubt that Cannady is a shooter. In 68 G League games, he shot 39.1% from the 3-point line, including 46.8% in 16 games last year as he came back from a compound fracture in his ankle. Cannady shot 40.3% from the 3-point line in college, though his career ended early as a senior when he was suspended after a run-in with a police officer and eventually stepped away because of a personal matter after his reinstatement.
Cannady, who is 26, made 13 appearances with the Magic, averaging 6.5 points and making 39.6% of his 3s.
Lakers Stocked With Point Guards
While the Lakers could use another shooter like Cannady, they do not need another point guard, not with Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and Dennis Schroder already on board. Cannady, at 6-foot-2, is not particularly big for his position and, because he is not a great defender, can’t really play off the ball, either.
Still, it is noteworthy that the Lakers are bringing him into the organizational pipeline, even if only tangentially. There’s no space for him on the roster—not yet, at least. But it could be worth monitoring his performance for South Bay and whether the Lakers position themselves to add him to the mix. It could turn into nothing, but it could be a beneficial move in the future.
“Put him in the corner with LeBron (James) driving to the rim,” the coach said, “and that is a pretty good combination. He could make a lot of defenses pay.”