The Lakers looked primed for a very deep Finals run this season, thanks in part to a fantastic selection of big men, including Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and Javale McGee.
Unfortunately for the Lakers Nation, Cousins has suffered a severe ACL tear that will keep him out of action. This is the second major injury following his Achilles tear that basically destroyed his productivity last year.
The Lakers are now looking thin in the frontcourt, without true big men with height and size. Even though LeBron and Kuzma can play at the 4, the Lakers need more big men to be able to defend the rim and rebound. At the same time, the Lakers need bigs to relieve pressure off of Anthony Davis and Javale Mcgee who will be required to play heavy minutes.
Here are the options for the Lakers to sign immediately.
5. Joakim Noah
Noah entered the league with tremendous athleticism, hustle, and defensive skills. He had a successful stint with the Bulls, where he became an All-Star player with a wide range of defensive skills along with effective playmaking skills when he had the ball.
However, recently Noah has slowed down with age and injuries that seem to have derailed his productivity the past few seasons. Still, Noah is a very experienced big man who knows how to help his team win. Noah is a low-risk player who can at the very least make rim runs, defend the rim, and make hustle plays.
4. Ryan Anderson
While not a traditional big who can defend and rebound effectively, Anderson is a fantastic 3-point shooter who will thrive next to Anthony Davis. Anderson is also very experienced, thanks to his time playing on very good teams including the Houston Rockets.
Anderson can still stroke it from deep, and can play at the four next to Anthony Davis. For the Lakers to add depth at the power forward position with a stretch four, Anderson would fit nicely in the Lakers roster.
3. Marcin Gortat
Gortat is another experienced big who has been a starter since his early days as Dwight Howard’s back-up in Orlando. Gortat is an effective big who can rebound, defend, and finish at the rim. Gortat is also used to playing in an uptempo style of play from his days in Washington, where he was the main target for John Wall’s pinpoint passes.
Playing with LeBron will allow Gortat to get similar easy buckets offensively, while he defends the rim with his size and strength.
2. Kenneth Faried
After becoming a forgotten man, the Rockets took a chance at Faried last season and he was extremely productive. Although undersized at center, Faried can be dominant at times thanks to his unrelenting hustle. Faried can rebound, run in transition, and finish at the rim.
Faried will most likely thrive next to LeBron James, similar to how he thrived in Houston next to James Harden. Faried is still young, and can most likely perform in spurts where his energy will be infectious to his teammates.
1. Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard’s career should be better than it is. He was extremely dominant as the best big man in the game when he was in Orlando, leading his team to the Finals to face Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Dwight was a beast defensively, winning multiple Defensive Player of the Year Awards. He was quick, agile, big, and strong in his prime.
Unfortunately, injuries have taken their toll on his career and he has been traded multiple times before finding himself out of a job at this very moment.
In fact, Howard had a rather unsuccessful stint with the Lakers where he still managed to put up respectable numbers. The Lakers should, therefore, give Howard another chance. Howard can still rebound, and be a big body in the paint. He will also allow Davis to focus his efforts offensively while he tries to dominate the paint like in day’s past. Dwight Howard is a low-risk, high-reward for the Los Angeles Lakers at this very moment.