After the Los Angeles Lakers bombshell Russell Westbrook trade, their roster consists of five players. They solved a major problem with the trade for Westbrook, by giving LeBron James another playmaker on the team. However, they also created a couple more issues by sending off their best shooter and some valuable depth, which they must address in NBA Free Agency.
The top needs for the Lakers heading into NBA Free Agency are shooting, shooting and more shooting. They have very limited resources to acquire free agents, so Rob Pelinka will have to get creative. The big three of LeBron, Westbrook and Anthony Davis are explosive and will draw all the attention, but not one of them is a great shooter. LeBron is the best of the bunch, shooting 36% from deep last season, but he still cannot be counted on as a knockdown shooter.
The Lakers will be searching for veterans willing to take the minimum salary in hopes of capturing a championship. There are plenty of valuable pieces on the market that could play crunch time minutes for the Lakers. Here are the top free agents available that the Los Angeles Lakers should target when NBA Free Agency begins.
Lakers NBA Free Agency Targets
J.J. Redick is one of the most elite sharpshooters in the game, even at 37 years old. He is a career 41% three-point shooter, and he would thrive spotting up and knocking down open looks with the Lakers. Redick would benefit tremendously from LeBron and Westbrook driving and kicking to him, and his off-ball movement would be an excellent fit. His defense could be worrisome, but the Lakers need shooting more than anything. Redick is arguably the best shooter in NBA Free Agency, and he is at the age where he could look to pursue a championship before he retires.
Patty Mills would be a perfect role player and would be able to stay on the court late in games with his high effort. He is constantly in motion and is another excellent shooter, at 39% from deep on his career. Mills has been with the Spurs for 10 seasons and has already won a championship. He understands the importance of sacrifice and knowing his role. Mills would be an excellent veteran to pair with the Lakers’ big three, and he would likely be willing to take a pay cut to play for a contender.
Wayne Ellington has always been a great shooter, but he turned into one of the best in the NBA last year. He shot 42% from three, shooting six per game. His durability could be an issue, but due to his injury history he will not command a lot of money in NBA Free Agency. Teams will be reluctant in giving him a big contract, which makes him a perfect fit to take less money and compete for a championship. He would be a great fit for many of the same reasons as Redick and Mills. Ellington is able to drive to the rim and can provide more than just shooting, as he shot over 52% on two pointers last year as well.
Paul Millsap’s career seems to be dwindling down. His minutes have decreased each of the last four seasons. Millsap has played in 129 career playoff games, providing valuable postseason experience, but has never been able to capture a title. This could be his last opportunity to chase a championship, at 36 years old. He has transformed his game over the last four seasons, knocking down at least 34% of his threes in each year. Millsap could be a great veteran to have around Davis, and his intelligence make for an excellent role player on the Lakers.
Each veteran that the Lakers should pursue in NBA Free Agency has something in common: the ability to shoot. It will be the key for this franchise to surround the high usage big three with spot-up shooters. Especially when the postseason arrives, as opposing teams will be sagging off Westbrook. Adding good free throw and three-point shooters is the most important aspect for the Lakers, if they want to win another championship before LeBron hangs it up for good.
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