The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a first-round exit at the hands of the Phoenix Sun this year, and the roster showed clear weaknesses all season long. When LeBron James and Anthony Davis were injured, the Lakers did not have a player who could pick up the weight of the team. Even when James and Davis were healthy, the roster was void of any playmaking or scoring at the point guard position.
Dennis Schroder is a very good player but he will likely never prosper with the Lakers. His style of play does not suit the team, and LeBron needs a more aggressive player to take the reigns of the offense. Therefore, the Lakers can package Schroder with Kyle Kuzma and even Talen Horton-Tucker for a chance to acquire one of these top point guards who could be available this offseason.
10. Devonte' Graham
Graham had a breakout season last year by averaging 18.2 PPG and 7.5 APG for the Hornets, although his numbers dipped to 14.8 PPG and 5.4 APG thanks to the arrival of Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball.
When Graham is given the minutes to control the starting point guard position, he is very effective. He can shoot the three at a strong clip (37.5% this season) and is a very capable playmaker. Graham is slightly undersized at 6'1", but he will be an upgrade over what the Lakers had this season in terms of shooting and overall offensive consistency.
9. Lonzo Ball
There are rumors that the Lakers are interested in bringing back Lonzo Ball, the young point guard who was supposed to be their future. But when Anthony Davis was available, Lonzo Ball was quickly placed in a trade package to New Orleans. Now, 2 years later, Lonzo could be an excellent pickup at the point guard position.
Lonzo averaged 14.6 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 5.7 APG this season for the Pelicans and already has experience playing with LeBron James. That means Lonzo can do what he does best: play defense, rebound the ball, and push the pace with his high basketball IQ. Ball returning to Los Angeles would also be one of the best storylines of the offseason.
8. Kemba Walker
The Boston Celtics gave up on Kemba Walker this offseason, trading him to Oklahoma City to free up cap space over the next few years. Walker had a turbulent season due to injuries, and could never return to his All-Star form. But Walker still has a ton of scoring talent left in the tank.
Kemba is only 2 years removed from averaging 25.6 PPG and making the All-NBA Third Team and is one of the most natural scorers that could be available on the trade market. LeBron James will be 37 next season and Kemba’s scoring will be a massive factor in helping the Lakers get to another Finals appearance.
7. Malcolm Brogdon
Malcolm Brogdon would be a perfect addition for the Lakers, in both the short and long term. Brogdon is 28 years old and can do a lot of things well on the court. This past season, he averaged 21.2 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 5.9 APG while shooting 38.8% from the three-point line. Brogdon is an above-average starter in the league right now and has All-Star capabilities that could shine when playing with LeBron and Davis.
Brogdon has been rumored to be on the trade market and he is in his prime right now. Even as LeBron ages, an experienced Brogdon can handle the ball and score at a proficient level with Anthony Davis manning the middle. Los Angeles could use better shooting on their roster and the 6’5” guard can deliver just that.
6. Kyle Lowry
Kyle Lowry was almost a Laker this season, but Los Angeles could not part ways with Talen Horton-Tucker for a 35-year old. Lowry had another strong season averaging 17.2 PPG and 7.3 APG for the Raptors, but he needs to be on a contender as soon as possible to maximize his last few years in the league.
If the Lakers can accept that they must win now with LeBron and Davis, they might release Horton-Tucker for a chance to acquire a 6-time All-Star and former NBA champion. Lowry can drain threes at a solid rate (39.6%), defend at an All-Star level, and provide valuable championship experience. Even though Horton-Tucker has a bright future ahead of him, Lowry has qualities that he cannot provide and the Lakers must go all-in this offseason to win another title.
5. Mike Conley
Mike Conley finally earned his All-Star appearance this season, averaging 16.2 PPG and 6.0 APG on 41.2% shooting from three. Conley was crucial in helping the Jazz capture the #1 seed in the Western Conference and is also one of the best two-way point guards in the league. Not to mention, Conley has valuable playoff experience during his time with the Memphis Grizzlies and even the Utah Jazz.
Conley would be a perfect addition for the Lakers, who need a steady player that can deliver pinpoint passes to Anthony Davis and relive LeBron’s playmaking duties. Even though Dennis Schroder is more explosive at this stage of their careers, he cannot shoot like Conley nor defend at a high level. If Conley wants out of Utah, the Lakers can certainly strike a deal for him.
4. John Wall
John Wall was traded to the Houston Rockets last offseason and showed he could still play at a high level. The point guard is very experienced and was solid on the court, averaging 20.6 PPG and 6.9 APG. Unfortunately, John Wall had to have another surgery to give him a chance to play next year.
But if John Wall can remain healthy and give the Lakers confidence that he will be able to play next season, they can afford to make a deal for the 5-time All-Star. Wall is still one of the quickest players in the league and he has had enough of not competing for NBA titles. With Los Angeles, Wall can provide veteran leadership and scoring to create a very versatile offense alongside LeBron and Davis.
3. Russell Westbrook
Rumors of Russell Westbrook returning to his hometown Los Angeles has been a major talking point this offseason. Even if Westbrook failed to have any postseason success yet again, the future Hall of Famer averaged another triple-double for the 4th time in his career. In 65 games, Westbrook averaged 22.2 PPG, 11.5 RPG, and 11.7 APG. He also put up these numbers with only Bradley Beal as a consistent offensive option on the Wizards.
Imagine if Westbrook had LeBron James and Anthony Davis beside him. In terms of pure physicality, the Lakers would be the best team in the league. Westbrook often plays like a center in a point guard’s body, and he will be a beast running the break alongside James and Davis. Playing with LeBron will also help Westbrook unlock a more efficient and focused style of play, which could be scary for the rest of the league.
2. Chris Paul
Along with Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul has been the most rumored player as a Lakers target at the point guard position. Paul made it to the NBA Finals in his first season with the Suns and proved he is still one of the best leaders in the world. Even at 36 years old, Paul averaged 16.4 PPG and 8.9 APG while making his 11th All-Star appearance.
Chris Paul has still got it, and LeBron is clearly very fond of him. James was in attendance in Game 5 of the Suns and Bucks series, and he claimed on numerous occasions that he wants a chance to play with the “Point God”. Chris Paul will not have a better chance to win a ring than with the Lakers, and he should do himself a service by requesting a trade to the Purple and Gold.
1. Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is a superstar and one of the top ten players in the world right now. He is also one of the select few loyal players in the league right now, but this time could be running out in Portland. Lillard averaged 28.9 PPG and 8.2 APG this season and is the exact player who could create a Lakers Dynasty by joining LeBron and Davis.
Lillard could also extend LeBron's career another few years. He is capable of carrying the team while LeBron takes it easy during the regular season, and can help unleash The King in the playoffs. There is no doubt that Lillard is the best player on this list and he would create the best Big Three in the West with the Lakers. While the Lakers are offering Schroder, Kuzma, and Horton-Tucker; they will also have to throw in Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 pick.