Will the Lakers look to add another big name in the offseason? | Ball Don’t Lie
Yahoo Sports NBA writers Jake Fischer and Dan Devine hop on the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast to discuss the state of the Los Angeles Lakers roster following their sweep at the hands of the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, and talk about what they learned about some of the role players during the playoff run.
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DAN DEVINE: Kyrie Irving again is courtside at a Laker game. And Trae Young again is courtside at a Laker game.
JAKE FISCHER: They're just two guys hanging out, watching hoops. What do you mean? That's no big deal. There's no ESPN camera that will happen to hover over them with a chyron spelling out their connections to LeBron. That's not going to happen.
DAN DEVINE: Of course not-- preposterous to presume that. I mean, it would have been funny if, like, after the game ends, they just threw a ball into the middle of the court, had them meet, and say, all right, one on one to 11. Whoever wins becomes the point guard of this team next year.
[? The ?] thing I'm fascinated by is, the Lakers had a recipe that led them to a championship in 2020. They diverted from that path to bring in Russell Westbrook because they felt like they needed more ball handling and shot creation, especially when you weren't going to have LeBron available, or if AD was hurt, or whatever.
So they traded depth and rotation players, who play defense and shot, for a star ball handler. It didn't work. It went disastrously. And then they were like, we have to undo that. They did that and traded the star for, like, half a rotation of guys who could dribble, pass, shoot, and defend.
They got to the Conference Finals again. And now, the answer is like, well, hmm, but what if they had a ball handler who could shoot, a high volume shot creator? Is that really the way we need to go?
The silver lining kind of takeaways are, A, you reaffirmed the proof of-- the concept of if we have LeBron and AD healthy come the playoffs, we have a chance against anybody. You establish that Austin Reaves was not, like, a fluky, folk hero kind of guy. Like, that's a real player who does real NBA things against drop coverage, in the pick and roll, can handle himself defensively, can hold up in a playoff context.
Austin Reaves, in the Western Conference Finals, went 14 for 25 from 3. Every other Laker combined went 23 for 81. So when the lights were brightest, he answered the call, right? He was able-- somebody that you can feel more comfortable building around.
Hachimura, I think is an interesting player because he was there. He showed up in each round and was valuable in multiple matchups, but has never been a regular season player. Like, that-- so that's the ques-- it's weird. Like, is he more of a 16-game player than an 82-game player?
JAKE FISCHER: Maybe.
DAN DEVINE: Maybe he is, which is kind of wild to say. I mean, I'm sure every Wizards fan has been watching this going, like, I can't believe that now, this is what's showing up for him. This is how he's-- he's rising to this occasion when many other lower tier occasions, he was not rising to for five years. But--
JAKE FISCHER: It's-- it's pretty remarkable. Before-- I have some close friends with the Wizards, one of them in particular was just so disappointed in him the last half decade or whatever it's been. And obviously, they moved off of him.
So as he's making every single shot against Memphis in the first round, like, I've just been texting this friend being like, man, is Rui the greatest player of all time? Like, what's happening here?
DAN DEVINE: [LAUGHS]