As we wait for the beginning of Kobe Bryant‘s farewell tour, and nightly attempts of “go to hell” ball, the Los Angeles Lakers are still piecing together a roster worthy of Staples Center’s price of admission. Currently the Lakers are carrying 13 players into the season, with five of them listed at the power forward position (Carlos Boozer, Julius Randle, Ed Davis, Ryan Kelly, and Jordan Hill). Both Ed Davis and Jordan Hill will see minutes at the center position, allowing them to alleviate the woes of carrying only Robert Sacre as the only natural center.
Small forward, quite like the center position, is also lacking the depth that it will take for the Lakers to sustain this year. Wesley Johnson returns for a second season with the Lakers backed by Xavier Henry. Henry seems better suited playing extended minutes as a shooting guard, leaving the Lakers in pursuit of seeking a better fit at the spot. Johnson posted career-highs all over the board last season (points, rebounds, three-point shooting percentage). Inconsistencies are still weighing down any hope of Johnson becoming the reliable “3-and-D” prospect that it takes to compete among the NBA’s best.
With the season nearly two months away, the Lakers still have two spots that they can add to their roster, maintaining the maximum that can be carried into the year. It’s no secret that they are scouring the market for players willing to take the minimum and some non-guaranteed deals. Finding talent at a bargain was one of the Lakers strength last season, evident from the aforementioned Wes Johnson and Xavier Henry.
As reported yesterday by USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick, the Lakers are looking to add a variety of players at guard, center and small forward.
After missing out on LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in July, the Lakers held a free agent workout Tuesday in Los Angeles. The workout included forward Michael Beasley; big men Dexter Pittman, Greg Stiemsma, and Daniel Orton; and guards Bobby Brown, Toney Douglas, Ben Hansbrough and Malcolm Lee, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
Michael Beasley has been linked to the Lakers over the past few weeks after a previous workout for the franchise. As most stories go with Beasley, his talent is intriguing along with his current value. Due to past off-court issues and defensive lapses, teams have been weary of adding Beasley, 25. A low-risk, high-reward is indeed the circumstances surrounding a Lakers-Beasley match.
Despite questions that may come along with adding Beasley, he will be in prime position to find his way into the starting lineup. It would be the first time that Beasley has had a chance at significant minutes since his days with the Phoenix Suns. With Wes Johnson possibly starting for the Lakers, let’s compare the numbers between the two according to Basketball-Reference.com:
- Michael Beasley – 7.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 49 percent shooting in 20.2 minutes per game (Per 36 minutes: 18.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game)
- Wesley Johnson – 9.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 42.5 percent shooting in 28.4 minutes per game (Per 36 minutes: 11.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game)
As you can see, Beasley nearly matched Johnson in production despite less minutes and time as a starter. Johnson started 62 games, in comparison to Beasley’s two games. Beasley’s opportunities as a starter could give him a chance to play alongside Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. The two veterans could continue to enlighten Beasley on the nuances of longevity in the NBA.
Johnson and Beasley both possess unique gifts on the defensive and offensive end. A combination of two could prove to be a good trial for the Lakers, as they try to establish a core going into the future. Despite Beasley lacking the focus it takes to be a great NBA defender, his addition is centered on his offense. With maturity, effort, and a boost to the team’s success, Beasley could have a career-high season in Los Angeles. The two sides may be looking for a different type of deal, but there is no doubt that they are an ideal match.