It has been a very interesting last few days. The Los Angeles Lakers will look very different in the 2021-22 season with the acquisition of Russell Westbrook. Not to mention the departure of veterans like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are still leading the charge for the Lakers, but now they have a former MVP to help shoulder the load next season.
While we don’t know what the supporting cast will look like, one notable thing will change next season. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, Davis is expected to play center much more next season:
This brings up one consequence of the trade: Davis is expected to play more minutes at center next season, according to sources. It won’t be full-time, but it’s required to maximize the roster’s spacing, shooting and transition attack.
It is no secret the Lakers are at their best when Davis plays the five. While Westbrook brings a lot to the table, his shooting ability is not one of them. If you have a big playing alongside Davis, spacing will definitely be a problem.
Bringing back Marc Gasol makes sense, because he spread the floor with his shooting ability. However, the ideal situation would be to put two wing shooters with Davis, LeBron and Westbrook on the floor. While this may not apply in the regular season as much, it should be an expectation in the playoffs. The Lakers could still use a backup big man like Dwight Howard, who is reportedly interested in coming back to Hollywood.
Make no mistake, the Lakers need shooting, especially in perimeter. Who will they attract to tinseltown? We will likely know on Monday at 3pm PST as free agency opens. The Lakers don’t much cap flexibility, so they will be hunting for bargains.