3 Key Lakers Free Agents ‘Need’ to Boost Value in Playoffs, Says Analyst

andre drummond

Getty Andre Drummond with Los Angeles Lakers teammates.

Before and during the current NBA season, the Los Angeles Lakers made moves that were widely considered upgrades when they happened. Unfortunately, that hasn’t actually always been the case. Some of the team’s additions haven’t always led to big returns.

One of the most hyped moves the Lakers made was signing Andre Drummond after the trade deadline. The two-time All-Star was considered to be the best player on the buyout market and was supposed to be a massive upgrade over Marc Gasol. While Drummond hasn’t been bad, he hasn’t been very consistent. He’s set to be a free agent at the end of the season and Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report listed him as one of the three Lakers who need to “boost” their value in the playoffs.

“Still, his size and athleticism could sway some suitors his way with a strong postseason,” Buckley wrote. “If he uses that stage to showcase better defensive feel and a willingness to fill the rim-running role, he could still fetch a decent contract this summer.”

Drummond is only averaging 11.9 points a game with 9.8 rebounds. Those would be his lowest averages since his rookie season if they hold up. He can do a lot to help his value in the playoffs but the Lakers went away from using too many bigs last year. It’s very possible Drummond doesn’t see the type of money he was hoping for this offseason.

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Harrell Could Be Hurt by Lakers’ Depth

Another player that Buckley mentioned was Montrezl Harrell. The reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year was a very good piece for the Lakers earlier in the season. However, he’s dropped off. After averaging 19.5 points a game in the month of March, he only averaged 9.2 points a game in April and is averaging 10.2 points in May.

“The Lakers are deep enough at center that if Harrell doesn’t have it going, they can quickly pivot in a different direction,” Buckley wrote. “If he can’t convince potential suitors that he might work as a starter or, more importantly, a closer, he could find a more tepid market than his per-minute production would suggest.”

Harrell is typically a very strong scorer but has struggled since the addition of Drummond. Considering his struggles against teams with dominant bigs, he could be in serious trouble of falling out of the rotation if the Lakers face the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz or Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs.

Wes Matthews Need to Get Into the Rotation

Perhaps no Laker has been more disappointing than Wes Matthews. He was supposed to be an upgrade over Danny Green as one of the team’s top 3-and-D guys. That hasn’t been the case. He’s shooting a career-worst 33.5% from three and has disappeared from the rotation many times this season. Buckley believes that Matthews needs to do a lot in the playoffs.

“Saying that, narratives can change quickly in the postseason, and Matthews will have the stage and opportunity to rewrite his,” Buckley wrote. “The Lakers often entrust him with high-profile defensive matchups, so if he handles those well enough and rediscovers his three-point touch, he might again have contenders lining up to plug him into a complementary role.”

If Matthews finds his stroke from three in the playoffs, teams will forget about his regular-season struggles. There isn’t a player who needs a big postseason more than Matthews.

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