The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the favorites to come out the West this season thanks to the tremendous duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The pair won the 2020 NBA championship together and are bolstered by the presence of 9-time All-Star Russell Westbrook. While the Lakers have not been at their best so far without the presence of an injured LeBron James, many fans and pundits believe there are no excuses for not making the NBA Finals.
But realistically, the team could use a little work. The Lakers have suffered defeats to teams (including the Oklahoma City Thunder) that they should be beating, and have had way too many close games. Despite the immense talent on the roster, Los Angeles barely look like a playoff team without LeBron James on the floor. That could be a problem going forward because there are plenty of teams in the Western Conference that will compete at a high level with the Purple and Gold. For the Lakers, they can make a shrewd move to acquire a starting-caliber player to bolster their bench.
The Houston Rockets are arguably the worst team in the league and are clearly tanking for top picks as they develop their young players. But one man on the team sticks out: Eric Gordon. Gordon is the best all-around scorer on the team and is a player that is best suited to help teams win games, not lose them. Therefore, Houston should consider moving Gordon to the Lakers for some young players while Los Angeles acquire the 2017 6th Man of the Year to help them survive without the presence of The King.
Trade Package: Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker for Eric Gordon
Los Angeles Wins The West With Former 6th Man Of The Year
The Lakers are a great team on paper, but they need help at the moment. Russell Westbrook is a great offensive point guard, but he has negatives that dampen his overall impact including being prone to turnovers and lack of efficient shooting. Eric Gordon, at 32 years old, is still a sensational scorer who can attack the rim and hit the three-point shot. For Los Angeles, they need a spark plug to carry the offense whenever Russ is having his usual off game. Not to mention, Anthony Davis cannot carry the offense on his own as he is the most consistent performer on the squad.
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony is having an amazing season averaging 17.2 PPG on 50.0% 3-point shooting, but that will not last throughout the season. Melo has always been a streaky shooter and at 37 years old, he cannot be relied upon either. Gordon is averaging 13.4 PPG on 51.3% shooting from three this season, although he is playing limited minutes to help develop the young guys. Eric has been through the slugfests of the playoffs before, so he is a perfect addition for the Lakers who need veterans that can score consistently while LeBron James rests.
Eric Gordon will not come in and be the All-Star caliber player he was in 2011, but averaging at least 13 PPG while bolstering their depth alongside Carmelo Anthony could work in the team’s favor. For the times that Davis is injured or Westbrook has his inefficient nights, Gordon can always be trusted to create his own offense and get hot from the perimeter. For a team that is going to battle with the likes of Golden State, Utah, and Denver in the West; this move could be a massive difference for the Lakers.
Houston Continues Their Rebuild With A Point Guard And Potential Starter
The Rockets have been an atrocity this season, falling to 1-11 on the season. Despite the presence of some decent players such as Christian Wood and Daniel Theis, the team does not have proper point guard play nor players with much experience. The 2nd overall pick Jalen Green is still a child on the court and needs a few years to develop before he starts showing his true self. Not to mention, Kevin Porter Jr. is also a young scoring guard who is not a natural point guard either. To help the rebuild, the Rockets need more young players and a point guard that can score and handle the ball.
Kendrick Nunn might not have the ceiling that Porter Jr. has, but he certainly has experience being a primary playmaker. Nunn started for the Heat last year and was a decent ball-handler and playmaker who is not as turnover-prone as Porter Jr. He is also 26 years old and has a chance to develop into a bonafide starting point guard when he returns to the court. Talen Horton-Tucker was so highly valued by the Lakers, that the franchise did not give him up for Kyle Lowry last year. The reason is simple: Horton-Tucker is only 20 years old yet has the all-around game that could make him a starter for years to come.
Losing Gordon will continue to hurt the Rockets’ record, but replacing him with Nunn and Horton-Tucker could add to the team’s rebuilding assets. Horton-Tucker will be a player they can develop for at least the next decade while Kendrick Nunn can be a buffer for Houston’s poor point guard play. The Rockets need at least 5 years before they are a decent team again, and trading away their best perimeter scorer before he turns 33 years old is the best strategy for them.
Tim Duncan Almost Left The Spurs And Signed For The Magic, But Doc Rivers Made A Huge Mistake And Denied His Request