It is a trade that Rob Pelinka and the front office could pull off. Despite DeRozan becoming a free agent this season, the Lakers don’t have space in the salary cap so they would need to discuss a sign and trade with the San Antonio Spurs.
The moves they can make are limited, which is especially tough seeing as they need to get better for the next season.
DeRozan is a four-time All-Star and has made an All-NBA team twice. He is a star in the league who has experience going far into the playoffs.
Whichever team he chooses to join, he will undoubtedly improve. That doesn’t mean that he is exactly the perfect fit for the Lakers though.
DeRozan Doesn’t Shoot Threes
The Lakers’ biggest issue, other than health has been their three-point shooting. DeRozan has one major issue with his otherwise elite game.
That problem is, he doesn’t shoot threes. Across his entire career, he is averaging 1.5 three-point attempts per game.
That is arguably a big problem for how he would fit with the Lakers. A team that urgently needs to improve their shooting ability.
LeBron James is at his best when he is attacking the basket, that is most effective when he is surrounded by shooters.
Shooters affect Anthony Davis’ game too. He is at his best in the post, in fact, he is unstoppable in the post.
His mid-range game and ability to get to the basket means teams have to double him to try to get the ball out of his hands or have a defender ready to play help.
He needs shooters to keep the defense on their toes for him passing it back out. So ideally, if the Lakers were to create a big three, it would be with a consistent three-point shooter.
DeRozan has been asked about his lack of three-point attempts before, on JJ Redick’s podcast.
He said: “A lot of times, it’s never me looking at how I can shoot the threes, it’s always more how I can get my three-point shooters shots, easy shots, without having to work so hard.”
DeRozan’s lack of three-point scoring will definitely affect the Lakers’ spacing on offense, however, he brings a lot to their offense as well.
He has the potential to bring someone very new to the Lakers’ offense, so whilst his shooting is a concern, it shouldn’t make Lakers fans disinterested.
What Does DeRozan Bring to the Lakers’ Offense?
We’ve covered that he could have a negative result on the spacing. So now it’s time to talk about what he brings to the offense.
The Lakers did not have an elite shot creator during their championship-winning season, and they definitely did not have one this season.
DeRozan knows how to get to his spot consistently and make plays. After the All-Star break, he averaged 23 points and 6.7 assists.
Keep in mind, he doesn’t shoot threes yet he is scoring at a very good rate. That is because of his elite midrange game.
He has one of the best mid-range games in the NBA. He also gets to the free-throw line at a very good rate.
Last season he averaged 7.2 free throws a game and shot 88%. Adding a player who attacks the basket and is consistent at the line is a big positive.
If the Lakers can surround Davis, James, and DeRozan with shooters, their offense could be significantly better.
One of the best parts of DeRozan’s game is how good he is at facilitating as well as scoring. The Lakers can trust the ball in his hands when James is off the court.
He can run their offense, ideally surrounded by shooters. He averaged 6.9 assists last season with the Spurs and is showing the league that he is a talented playmaker.
He can drive and kick out to open shooters very well, and this would be very effective in rotations where he is the only star in the court.
That’s the big advantage to having a ‘big three.’ It strengthens your bench as you can have another star playing with your bench unit and keeping you in the game or helping to strengthen a lead.
A line-up of James, DeRozan, and Davis at the five would be very dangerous in the clutch.
Whilst James is definitely the closer, you need everyone to step up in certain moments, and he will not shy away from it.
Having Davis at the five would also help with their spacing in the clutch, so the Lakers could potentially have one of the most dangerous line-ups there.
The Lakers can deal with DeRozan’s lack of threes depending on what other moves they make to improve their bench and shooting.
He brings so much more to the offense than threes, which shouldn’t be undervalued. He should be treated as a top target for the lakers as he could completely change the team for the better.
He will also allow less pressure on James who can enjoy playing off the ball more. Trading for DeRozan could be the move that wins the Lakers another championship.
He is one of the trades the Lakers need to look at, although it won’t be that easy to pull off. It is a tough decision whether to go for him or not.
There are strong positives for the trade but also negatives that have to be acknowledged.
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