Only a few days into NBA free agency, I think the Lakers have already drastically improved their team. First, they kicked off free agency by signing Dennis Schröder. Last year, Schröder was the runner up for sixth man of the year with 18.9 ppg and an impressive 38.5% from downtown. He has a great motor and he’s an impactful player off the bench. He’s also one of the quickest players in the league and he can drive past anyone to get to the basket. Standing at only 6’1, he’s mastered how to finish around the basket when going up against taller defenders. He’s extremely agile and can adjust his body in mid-air to maneuver around the centers that are guarding the paint. Overall, he’s a strong addition to the Lakers team and I think an All-Star game is just on the horizon for Schröder.
Now from the runner up for sixth man of the year, to the winner of sixth man of the year, it’s Montrezl Harrell. Coming from the rival Clippers, this is certainly a controversial trade but nevertheless a trade that has occurred. Harrell has been signed for virtually nothing as well, only costing the Lakers $19 million across the two years he’ll be there, which I think is a bargain. He’s one of the best defensive power forwards/centers in the league as well and he’s playing with so much passion, which I love to see. At only 6’7, when he’s playing at Center he’s immediately at a disadvantage. But he uses his quickness and grit to get an advantage over his opponents.
With the Lakers trading away Dwight Howard and Javale McGee, I’m expecting Harrell to start in the majority of games this season, as personally I’d start him. The biggest thing he needs to work on though is getting a jump shot and converting at the free-throw line. He shot a disappointing 65.8% from the foul line last season but at least it’s his best in the NBA so far. And outside of 15 feet, he really isn’t a threat and his defender can sag off him. This can often clog the paint up when Harrell is on the court so if he can develop a jump shot, it will take his game to the next level.
Finally, I’m going to be talking about Marc Gasol as he’s just been signed to a 2 year deal to the Lakers for around $5 million. Although Gasol is old now at 35, he still has a lot to offer in my opinion. He played a key role in the Raptors’ championship in 2019 and he’s the former defensive player of the year. In the past few years, he’s developed a really clinical 3 point shot as well, shooting over 1000 threes since the 2016-17 season and converting on 36.6% of them. He’s not as quick as he used to be, but he’s great at boxing out for rebounds and setting screens. I would personally start Harrell over Gasol but I believe the Lakers will switch these 2 up quite a lot.
So with the Lakers already signing 3 great role players, who’s next on their agenda?