The Lakers are not going to spend a lot of money in free agency this summer. They have made it clear that their intention is to save cap space for next summer. So, with a frugal mindset in play, the Lakers will look for players who are cheap and motivated to redefine their career in Los Angeles. And that is where K.J. McDaniels, a 6’6’’ shooting guard/small forward comes in.
McDaniels is a young and athletic wing option that the Lakers should consider. At 24, McDaniels has bounced around the league a lot, playing with four different teams in three years. Last season on the Brooklyn Nets, McDaniels averaged 6.3 points and 2.6 rebounds in 15 minutes per game.
McDaniels is a reclamation project. He still needs to improve his outside shooting. For his career, he shoots a meager 29 percent from beyond the arc. But McDaniels is a decent defender. His athleticism and 6’11’’ wingspan are qualities to be a disruptive defender. As a Junior at Clemson, McDaniels averaged 2.8 blocks a game and won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year Award.
As a team, the Lakers struggled a lot on defense last year, ranking at the bottom 28th in defensive rating. Although McDaniels is not a lock down defender, he still could provide some relief on that end when he comes on the court. Last year with the Nets, McDaniels’ overall defensive field goal rating was at a respectable 39 percent.
The Lakers won’t have to pay a lot for a player like McDaniels. They could sign him to a one-year contract with a team option for the second year. McDaniels is still a young player who could be exciting in the open floor. He is a cheap option that is looking for a team to give him an opportunity. Hopefully, that could be the Lakers.