Free agency has wound down, and the Lakers’ roster is mostly set. Byron Scott is the Lakers’ new head coach, and his fellow Showtime Lakers support him. But now it’s time to discuss what all of this means for this year’s Laker squad.
So, I’m going to go one-by-one and assess all of the new Laker additions.
Clarkson, who the Lakers drafted at 46th overall, is a combo guard with a lot of talent. As he showed in Summer League, he can get to the basket and finish as well as shoot the 3 ball off the catch and off the dribble. At 6’5″ he also has a big size advantage when playing the point guard position, and this gives him a distinctive edge on the defensive end. He has a chip on his shoulder from being picked so late in the draft, and he also has a lot of pride, being the first Filipino-American NBA player.
His playing time this year will depend on Steve Nash’s health. He is 3rd-string at this point, but the Lakers will likely hold on to and develop him given his impressive showing in the Summer League and at the OVO Bounce tournament, where he outshone the likes of Noah Vonleh and Tyler Ennis.
Randle has loads of potential. The lefty has incredible footwork and ball-handling skills for a man his size (6’9″ 250 lb) and has a superb motor. His defensive skills are limited, but he has expressed a strong desire to work at it. Speaking of which, his work ethic is terrific, and he’ll be picking Kobe’s brain at every opportunity. Randle also displayed great passing ability in the Summer League. He consistently drew multiple defenders in the paint and hit open 3-point shooters with crisp, accurate passes.
We can expect Randle to begin his career on the bench, as he’ll take time to adjust to the NBA and learn how to play defense well enough to start for Byron Scott. Expect him to see some time at the small forward position, but usually he will play his natural power forward spot.
Davis is another young player with lots of potential. He is a very good rim protector and rebounder with a high motor. His offensive skillset is limited, and most of his points come from put-backs and running the floor.
Davis will likely earn a rotation spot early in the year simply because his game is focused on defense and rebounding – the two traits Coach Scott wants most out of his big men. Though he has played power forward on other teams, he will likely see most of his time at the center position, competing for minutes with Jordan Hill.
The point guard has already proven that he has talent. We know he can get to the rim and finish with the best of them, but people often question his defense and perimeter shot. His shooting has improved every year he’s been in the league, and his defense is better than most people give him credit for. Plus, his high basketball IQ will allow him to adopt Scott’s defensive concepts quickly and, as a result, his team defense will eventually make up for any individual deficiencies.
The starting point guard position is up for grabs between Lin and Nash. Whoever can play the most – and most effective minutes – will start. Given Nash’s health issues, we can expect Lin to end up as the starter sooner or later.
Like Lin, Boozer has great offensive talent, but has a poor defensive reputation. He just came from a Chicago Bulls team that prided itself on defense and benched him during the 4th quarter of most games because they preferred Taj Gibson on the defensive end. Boozer’s minutes and numbers have dropped as a result. However, C-Booz has a chance to establish himself in a new system where he likely won’t be asked to do so much for the team’s offense and thus have more energy for defense.
Look for Boozer to snag the starting power forward position right away, as he is far more prepared to do so than Julius Randle or Ryan Kelly. He is driven to re-establish himself in this league and will fight to hold that starting spot.