Thursday, March 25, 2010

Who says the Lakers can't play in this summer's free agency!?

(Photo from LA Times)
The Lakers have 3 point guards: Derek Fisher, Jordan Farmar, and Shannon Brown. Derek fisher is a free agent this summer. Jordan Farmar will be a restricted free agent, and Shannon Brown can opt out of his contract and look for work elsewhere, or sign a bigger contract. The rest of the team is pretty much set in stone barring any trade, injury, or Kobe not singing an extension (and playing in Italy!? No). But the Lakers have some questions about their PG future.

Question 1 Do they bring Fisher back at a fraction of his current $5 million a year for a couple more years?
Pros: He's a Laker veteran who knows what to do in Phil Jackson's triangle offense. He can hit clutch 3 pointers.
Cons: He's a liability on defense and his offense isn't that great this season either.
If I'm the Lakers: I don't think so. At least not as a starter. Fisher's been exposed his whole career on the defensive end but this season in particular, he's been getting beat very easily by other PGs. Plus, his offensive number have taken a hit as well.

Question 2: If he doesn't opt out of his contract (which he probably will, can't really bank on $2 million for one year and that's it... for an NBA player), Do the Lakers give the reigns to Shannon Brown?
Pros: He's a high flying dunk act but has been working on his jump shot and can hit a 3 pointer if given enough space. He's a good defender and is big (6'4" 210 lbs) and won't get posted up easily.
Cons: He still seems like a raw talent guy even though he's been in the league since 2006 (drafted 1 pick before Farmar, in fact).
If I'm the Lakers: Not the reigns. I'd keep him on the bench if I can't find a better starting PG. He's a scorer, not a distributor and in the triangle offense, he makes some bad decisions by taking off balance shots without first passing to Pau or Bynum in the post. First thing that comes to mind in comparisons is JR Smith-ish in that he's gonna shoot the ball.

Question 3: Do they give the reigns to the team to 2006 draft pick Jordan Farmar?
Pros: he's a push the ball up the court kinda guard, can create his own shot, and makes nice passes. He's been with the team for 4 years and knows the offense. He can keep up with the league's better PGs (compared to Fisher).
Cons: He's only started 2 games his entire career, both at the end of his rookie season. He's pretty small (6'2" 180 lbs).
If I'm the Lakers: This might be the best scenario. Jordan's got a good combination of speed and basketball IQ and looks to pass first as opposed to Shannon Brown who's more of a scorer/slasher. He's got a good shot including the 3 pointer.

Things to keep in mind:
  • The Lakers pay roll drops from $91 million to around $77 million next year, which is still over the salary cap.
  • The Lakers don't need an amazing PG who can drive and kick. This is a triangle offense team that needs their PGs to run a motion after the ball goes into the post. This is why Kobe and Lamar sometimes initiate the offense and the Lakers usually get the same result on their possession.
  • Fisher would still be a viable option if his defense wasn't getting worse each season. What they need is a PG who can keep up with Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, and Rajon Rondo.
  • When the Lakers DO do a drive and kick kind of play, they have Kobe and Lamar (and Farmar) who can do that. Also, they run a mean pick n roll with Kobe and Pau as seen in last year's finals against the magic. You know, when they won the championship?
  • Somewhat related: The Lakers have to make a not so dire decision on DJ Mbenga and Josh Powell (both getting less than $1 million this year).
  • If those two don't return, they'll need to sign some bench players as Adam Morrison is for sure not coming back. Los Angeles may have to replace DJ, Powell, Morrison, the 3 PGs discussed above. But anyway...
Ideally, the Lakers would've gotten Kirk Hinrich in a another rip off type trade before the all star break (a deal was out there where the Lakers could have gotten him for Sasha and Morrison, wow.) So free agency moves aside, if the Lakers had to make a decision, there best move would be to start Farmar and have Shannon come off the bench.


Jeremy said...

Kirk Hinrichhhhh


I keep thinking Buss will figure out a way to sign/trade for LeBron or DWade. He's got better pieces- Bynum, Odom, Gasol- than any team in the league.

ReadBetweenTheBaselines said...

As a Laker fan, I'd go crazy if that happened. But as a basketball fan, I think I enjoy their head to head battles.

Anonymous said...

Farmar also started Game 3 of the Houston series during the 2009 playoffs.