The Los Angeles Lakers will be without Anthony Davis for a while, and they could perhaps make a trade to keep themselves afloat during his absence. Everyone knows that at this point, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are focused on the playoffs. However, they still need some depth to soak up the minutes during the regular season, especially with Davis’s extended absence.
Here are five players that could be solid for the Los Angeles Lakers. While one shouldn’t expect them to tip the scales by themselves, they could be solid additions as depth around a superstar. All these players have solid skill sets that could be utilized on a contending team.
5. Dewayne Dedmon
Dewayne Dedmon isn’t a name that exactly rings a bell with most casual fans, but Dedmon is actually a solid center who hasn’t been signed since the 2019-20 season. While he hasn’t had a stellar time with the Sacramento Kings or in his return to the Atlanta Hawks, Dedmon is still a valuable piece that could make an impact in a smaller role. Dewayne Dedmon could be a solid veteran presence who can play minutes at either big man position until Anthony Davis returns, and settle into a smaller role after that.
Dedmon’s key attribute is his ability to shoot the ball: Dedmon made 38.2% of his 3PT shots during the 2018-19 season. If he gets back to even the mid-30s in terms of 3PT percentage then he will be a solid acquisition for the Lakers. If not, then he could focus on rebounding and defense: for a veteran minimum, Dedmon is as solid a player as you can get.
4. Emmanuel Mudiay
Emmanuel Mudiay is a point guard who hasn’t been signed by an NBA team since his tenure with the Utah Jazz. Mudiay is a solid point guard who can run an offense, but also be a spark plug scorer off the bench. While he isn’t going to break out and become an All-Star, he is a solid player who could help a team with his energy and scoring in limited minutes.
The Los Angeles Lakers could elect to sing Mudiay to bring in some offensive firepower. If he is signed by the Los Angeles Lakers, then Mudiay would have a chance to show the world that he still belongs on an NBA roster and that he is still capable of contributing to a team.
3. Ersan Ilyasova
Ersan Ilyasova is your prototypical stretch big man. Ilyasova has shot 36.5% from beyond the arc for his career and has bounced around the league, as many teams have found a need for his services. Ilyasova isn’t a huge inside presence on the offensive end, and his best use would be staying out on the perimeter and knocking down open jumpers. He is an okay defender who knows how to draw charges on opponents and rebound the ball.
Ilyasova’s main use to the Los Angeles Lakers would be as a stop-gap option at the PF position. Ilyasova is going to be consistent, and he is a solid veteran who LeBron James can trust to play a role. Ilyasova is a solid signing for the Lakers’ immediate needs, but he would also be valuable in a playoff run due to his shooting ability.
2. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is not a particularly outstanding offensive player. He hustles hard and gets his baskets off of putbacks and easy shots at the rim. Hollis-Jefferson’s main value comes from his defensive ability. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is a defender who is able to guard every position except center fairly comfortably, and his athleticism allows him to periodically defend guards.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson would be the Los Angeles Lakers’ defensive stopper off the bench. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s high energy is best used in limited minutes, where he’d be able to go all-out in a small amount of time. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s defense would be useful to stop some of the best offensive players in the Western Conference, and he would have the build to guard bigger wings like Kawhi Leonard or Paul George.
1. DeMarcus Cousins
DeMarcus Cousins is probably the most high-upside signing on this list. DeMarcus Cousins is a former All-Star who used to dominate in the post before his injuries. Cousins’ skillset is everything you want from a modern center: he can shoot the ball, rebound well, and play inspiring defense. DeMarcus Cousins has shown signs of recovering from his injury layoff, with some recent good performances before the news of his imminent departure from the Houston Rockets.
DeMarcus Cousins could be an elite fit with high-upside. Even if he doesn’t become the 20-10 force he used to be, he can still provide value similar to Marc Gasol: Cousins can play next to a superstar and is also able to space the floor. He provides a more athletic option to Marc Gasol, as well as more offensive firepower. DeMarcus Cousins is a player that would improve any team, including the Los Angeles Lakers.