Austin Reaves: Lakers Should Add ‘Physical’ Center To Help Anthony Davis

The Los Angeles Lakers head into the offseason with a few roster needs, including a center, three-and-D wing and point of attack defender in the backcourt.

It’s unlikely that the Lakers will be able to address all of those needs, as evidenced by last offseason when they didn’t add any meaningful big men after getting swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals.

The result was a similar fate for L.A. as they again lost to the Nuggets in the playoffs, this time in five games in the first round.

Despite that though, Austin Reaves spoke with Lakers Nation and echoed the sentiment from new head coach JJ Redick that the roster isn’t far off from being able to compete for championships.

“Yeah, I definitely do,” Reaves said of his agreement with Redick. “I think if you go back and look at the playoffs and even the Denver series, we led 70%. I’ve had a million questions about that series and every time I always tell them that I feel like we let one get away. If we get past that series then you never know what happens after that. So yeah, I feel like we’re not far off and with a couple pieces getting brought in here and there and some stuff like that, I feel like we got an opportunity to do that.”

When discussing what roster needs they do need to address though, Reaves looked at the center position in order to take some of the load off Anthony Davis.

“There’s obviously room for improvement,” he added. “I think that one thing I personally thought we could’ve had was a more physical 5, especially when you run into someone like Jokic. You ask AD to do so much on the offensive and defensive end and he’s capable, but if you’re able to give him a little bit of a break guarding like a Jokic so he can be more focused in helpside defense and making it tougher when Jokic makes his first move, just seeing AD on the back line. That’s tough to score over because he’s such a good defender and then he can worry more about the offensive end.

“Regardless, he had a hell of a series either way. But that’s just the first thing that comes to my mind, obviously there’s pieces here and there. But like I said, I don’t think we’re too far off.”

The workload that Davis took on last season was among the biggest in the league and even though he played a career-best 76 games, that will not be sustainable moving forward.

Because of that, Reaves is right that the Lakers need to add another center to the roster. Christian Wood is currently under contract and Jaxson Hayes could also pick up his player option, but even still, neither of them have the size to deal with guys like Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid in matchups that call for it.

Lakers interested in Jonas Valanciunas

One center option that is available and the Lakers are said to have interest in is Jonas Valanciunas, a free agent formerly of the New Orleans Pelicans.

It remains to be seen if the Lakers will be able to get him, but Valanciunas certainly fits the description that Reaves gave.

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