Much has been made about the Laker’s acquisition of J.R. Smith. Besides his history with LeBron, both good and bad, Smith is supposed to be the immediate replacement for Avery Bradley’s shooting and defense. Smith can defend the perimeter well and hit the three-point shot, so he is expected to play a major role alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
But the Lakers shouldn’t stop there. The Playoffs are going to be a hell ride because there are legitimately six or seven teams that feel like they can win it all. If the Lakers want to compete with the likes of the Clippers in terms of bench depth, they should continue scouring the market for effective two guards.
There are two first-ballot Hall of Fame players that are currently retired but have the cache to contribute to the Lakers immediately. These two guys are 3-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade and two-time NBA champion Ray Allen. Here are the reasons why the Lakers should go after mission impossible and sign these two great shooting guards.
1. They Are Still In Good Shape
Even if social media doesn’t tell the whole story, it can’t lie. Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen are still in great shape and clearly have the capability to play at least some role off the bench for title-contending teams. Dwyane Wade is not expected to replicate his 2006 finals MVP performance, but he is expected to at least showcase his great chemistry with LeBron James and provide championship experience to a team that needs to win it all.
Similarly, Ray Allen is one of the best pure shooters in NBA history and can easily come in and drain a few threes if he finds himself open when either LeBron or Davis are double-teamed. If there are two retired players that are in great shape and can manage a run out of retirement, it’s Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen without a doubt.
2. One Last Title
While they are in great shape, they are ultra-competitive players who would absolutely relish another shot of winning another NBA title. They have tasted the sweetness of winning, and why would they not want to repeat that again?
Wade has been the man on the championship team, and he has also been a sidekick to LeBron on a championship team. This would not put him in any precarious position, and he would love to help in any way to add a fourth ring on his hand. Ray Allen has also been in big-time moments in the NBA Finals, hitting clutch shots and being the man that delivered in a crucial Game Six for the Miami Heat in 2013.
The shot of going after one more title could be too much to resist for both of these players.
3. They Can Contribute Off The Bench
So even if they are ready and able to help the team, the Lakers should give them a chance because they can contribute off the bench and at least minor capacity. For as long as Ray Allen is alive, he will be able to drain a 3-point shot. In fact, he might be able to do it better than almost every player in the NBA right now. Allen made a living at the three-point line and ranks first among all-time threes made with 2,973. Allen also shoots a career 40% from three, something the Lakers would love to have alongside LeBron and Davis.
Wade, on the other hand, is not a pure shooter from deep, but brings veteran leadership and also this clutch gene that you simply cannot teach. Simply by having Dwyane Wade on the floor, his impact goes both offensively and defensively thanks to his court awareness and ability to influence the game in any way he can. It would be a pleasure to watch Wade and LeBron go at it side by side again.
4. Chemistry In The Locker Room
LeBron James loves Dwyane Wade and we all know this. Even if Anthony Davis is his running buddy right now, Dwyane Wade would immediately step back into the best friend role on the team. A happy LeBron is a motivated LeBron, and the same goes for Dwyane Wade. No doubt Anthony Davis respects what Wade has done in the league so this would be a great addition to the locker room.
Similarly, Ray Allen is a true professional and a great locker room guy. Allen worked hard to get to where he reached in his career, so his presence inside the locker room would give a calming effect on the rest of the team. Seeing Allen work hard, even at his age, would motivate the rest of the players to stay after practice and also get their shots on target.
5. For Kobe Bryant
Perhaps the most important reason why Wade and Allen should join the Lakers is to honor the late and great Kobe Bryant. While this year has been a very difficult one for many reasons, the NBA Universe is still mourning the loss of the great Kobe Bryant. It is why the Lakers want to go all-in for the title this year, so all the players can at least utter “This is for you Kobe”.
Having Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen, two of Kobe’s greatest contemporaries and foes, compete with the Lakers for an NBA title would be a perfect picture ending if they managed to lift the trophy at the end of the year. As a tribute to Kobe Bryant, this would be the most respectful position for them to take and a true honor to represent the Purple and Gold.