Lakers update: They still suck.
With that out of the way, we have many questions in this week’s mailbag. And they’re super important ones. So let’s jump in!
@LakersOutsiders is the Earth really as flat as Randle’s midrange jumper????
— Sheen Lee (@SheenKL) January 25, 2016
If the earth was round, wouldn’t Julius Randle’s jumper just keep going up? Or if Larry Nance jumped to dunk on someone, wouldn’t he continually go up unless he steered down?
Wait, he does that already. The answer is inconclusive.
@LakersOutsiders cupcakes or cakes which do you prefer?
— afa (@afa_brain) January 25, 2016
There needs to be more context to sufficiently answer this question. What kind of cakes are we talking about? What kind of cupcakes?
If we’re talking ice cream cake, which is the best kind of cake, then that trumps everything. No cupcake can match that.
Even hotter take? Cupcakes are overrated.
@LakersOutsiders If Byron is replaced, who is the best available candidate?
— Evan Stastny (@iamstazmatix) January 25, 2016
Hey, a Lakers question!
First, not if, but WHEN Byron is replaced. Have faith in the front office, though they haven’t earned it at times.
On the note of Byron’s negligence during his time at the helm, take a look at this piece from friend of the podcast Justin Russo, which perfectly encapsulates everything wrong with Scott.
The most obvious and top candidate is Luke Walton, hands down. He’s a young coach who is a former Laker, won titles with the team as a role player, AND BELIEVES IN ANALYTICS. He’s like the opposite of Byron!
Aside from him, option #2 should actually be David Blatt. His firing shocked everyone last week.
For an idea of how things went awry in Cleveland, read this amazing piece of reporting from former Lakers beat writer Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst.
You can tell in the piece that the Cavs quit on Blatt, though the former certainly has his share of the blame. In his defense, he came into a situation where he thought he would be taking over a young team that would look to earn his trust, then had the tables turned at the last minute.
Blatt wants to remain in the NBA and could be a perfect option for the Lakers. This team needs something to liven them up. The retreads of Byron and Mike Brown in recent years clearly aren’t working.
@LakersOutsiders Should Roy Hibbert be benched?
— Advith Sarikonda (@ASarikondaNBA) January 25, 2016
If this is a question of should Hibbert be benched, the answer is a loud YES. If this is a question of IF Hibbert will be benched, then it’s likely a resounding no.
Hibbert was the big acquisition this off-season and has stayed out of Scott’s doghouse. He loves his veterans and everything points to Roy maintaining a spot in the starting lineup.
In a perfect world, he’s benched and the Lakers either start Larry Nance, Jr. with Julius Randle or one of those two with Tarik Black, rotating the trio throughout the night. But it’s not a perfect world. And Byron sucks.
@LakersOutsiders should we keep Lou Will as a role player going forward (next few years), or is he just trade bait?
— Advith Sarikonda (@ASarikondaNBA) January 25, 2016
This is a very interesting question because it’s a situation the Lakers are going to have to address soon.
The Lakers have been in “acquire assets” mode for a while, with Lou Williams being an asset this off-season. He was signed on a favorable contract on THIS salary cap and a damn bargain moving forward at just $7 million the next two seasons.
The question is, at what point do the Lakers move from “trading players to acquire draft picks/young assets” mode and into “keeping assets to contend” mode.
Problem is, Williams is 29 and not going to be enough to make us contend in the next few years. Move him to a contender for a pick or young player.
@LakersOutsiders what trades would you like to see the Lakers make, with some degree of realism?
— Mike Garcia (@CanyonDriver) January 25, 2016
I’ll offer three trades for the Lakers’ three most tradable players.
First, at the most tradable, is Williams. He’s the Sixth Man of the Year and a contender can use his scoring to space the floor.
The Thunder need to be in a win-now mode with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook heading to free agency this off-season and next, respectively.
Williams provides them the best scorer they’ve had off the bench since James Harden and can take pressure off of the Durant/Westbrook duo.
In return, the Lakers get Dion Waiters, who serves as a salary cap filler more than anything as he has just a qualifying offer for next season, as well as Mitch McGary, who is the gem in this. The Lakers can use him as a big man going forward with Nance, Jr. and Randle beside him.
Second is Brandon Bass, who has shown a role off the bench and as a small ball five at times (see game vs. Sacramento Kings).
Trading Bass is a bit harder because he needs to go to a contender as his player option will likely be turned down next season, making him a free agent.
The Toronto Raptors are near the top of the Eastern Conference and could view Bass as a player who could help put them over the top.
A trade like this that nets the Lakers two young pieces plus a conditional draft pick would work.
If the Raptors don’t want to give up young pieces, they could swap James Johnson plus a first-round pick for Bass, which also works.
Lastly is Nick Young, and honestly, I have no idea how to trade that man. His contract isn’t great and if the Lakers move him, it’s simply a cap dump without looking for an asset in return, but simply salary relief. If you have a potential trade for him, tweet it our way!
@LakersOutsiders draft ben simmons and trade randle for a or center from sixers?
— LakerHead (@Bestoneever_1) January 26, 2016
Last question of the piece is possibly the hardest.
If the Lakers do land the top pick or the second pick, they have a problem of potential redundancy with regards to Ben Simmons and Julius Randle.
In my opinion, you take the best player available and find out the fit later. I still contend that you give Simmons and Randle a year to see how the fit works. Under the right coach, you could fix those problems of fit (looking at you Luke Walton).
In reality, the biggest problem with Simmons’ fit is that he can’t shoot, but that’s not an issue that can’t be fixed. Put him in the gym, have him shoot hundreds and thousands of jumpers and work out that jump shot. I think Simmons’ weakness is a bit overstated at this point and something that could be fixed.