The 2019 NBA offseason is here and the Los Angeles Lakers are making aggressive moves in an effort to return to championship contention heading into the 2019-20 NBA season.
After the Anthony Davis trade with the New Pelicans, the Lakers will now look to fill out their roster in free agency.
With just Davis, LeBron James, and Kyle Kuzma penciled in as starters and an inexperienced bench, the Lakers will need help at every position. As a result, here are the top five free agents for the Lakers at each position, continuing at shooting guard:
Seth Curry: While some may just know him as Stephen Curry’s younger brother, he has some serious skills of his own. He’s a bit undersized at 6’2” but can mitigate that somewhat by masquerading as a reserve point guard when need be. However, where Curry truly excels is with his shooting as he knocked in an eye-popping 45% of this three-pointers in 19 minutes per game off the bench for the Portland Trail Blazers during the 2018-19 NBA season.
His Hawkeye-esque marksmanship out him in the 98th percentile as a spot up shooter per Synergy, which is absolutely elite. Curry is also adept at scoring off screens, ranking in the 92nd percentile as the ball handler in pick-and-roll situations, though his effectiveness drops drastically when he’s forced to pass.
It’s fair to question whether his size would prohibit him from being a starter but even if it’s off the bench, Curry’s elite shooting would make him an enticing target to space the floor for James and Davis.
JJ Redick: Father Time may be undefeated but Redick isn’t listening. He just turned 35 years old but still played 31 minutes per game last season for the Philadelphia 76ers, scoring 18.1 points while splashing in 3.2 three-pointers per game at a 40% clip. He’s a master at coming off screens and finding open space to unleash his jumper and has also shown some playmaking ability.
At best, he’s an average defender, but that’s not really what you would be signing him for.
Of course, at some point, the mileage will catch up to Redick and as such, the Lakers shouldn’t be looking to offer up a long-term deal. If they can land him, he could be an ideal fit as both a shooter and a steady veteran to play alongside James and Davis.
Terrence Ross: Ross’ nickname is ‘Human Torch’ and that may be all that you need to know about his game. Ross came off the bench last season, firing up an astounding seven three-pointers in 26.5 minutes, which is fifth in the league on a per-minute basis.
For comparison’s sake, Ross jacked up threes at a rate roughly equal to Paul George, D’Angelo Russell, and Kemba Walker.
However, Ross isn’t conscience-free gunner — he’s actually fairly efficient hitting 38% of his looks from downtown. Even more encouraging is that Ross ranks in the 96th percentile in spot-up situations and 94th as the ballhandler in pick-and-roll, which supports the idea that he’s much more than just a shooter. When plays break down, Ross is capable of creating offense on his own, something that can come in handy for a Lakers team that will have to utilize load management for their All-Stars.
At 28 years old, Ross is in his prime and ready to win right now and while his defensive numbers are poor, those may creep up on a better team where he isn’t bearing as much of the offensive burden as he was in Orlando.
Danny Green: At this point, Green may be the best example of a 3-and-D role player in the NBA. He stays within himself and doesn’t try to do anything out of his comfort zone, which provides his team with dependability. You know that game in and game out, Green will be locked in defensively, using his 6’6” frame to harass shooters while having no qualms about letting it fly behind the arc if he’s open.
You won’t see Green take many bad shots, but he picks his spots carefully and nearly all of his attempts are threes — which he hit 46% of last season.
That said, there is some reason for concern as the season before he shot just 36% from three, which is part of why the Spurs were willing to toss him into the Kawhi Leonard trade. After winning a championship with the Raptors this season, Green will be in line for a solid payday in free agency but at 32-years-old, teams should at least have some hesitancy to toss four-year deals his way, particularly if the price is inflated.
That said, he would be a tremendous fit alongside James and Davis as long as there isn’t another regression in his shooting coming.
Klay Thompson: Yes, it’s not realistic. Not only will Thompson miss most of next season due to an ACL tear but he’s also almost certainly re-signing with the Golden State Warriors. That said, if there’s even a slight chance that he can be convinced to follow in his father’s footsteps and join the Lakers, he would be the perfect fit even if they have to wait a bit for him.
Thompson averaged 21.5 points last season (his fifth in a row of 20 points or more) while knocking in 40% of his threes, which is actually a bit of a down year for him in terms of shooting efficiency. He has a fast, effortless release that — combined with his 6’7” height — allows him to get shots off under pressure.
He can be deadly pulling up in transition and as opposing teams focus on James and Davis, Thompson could find himself feasting on open looks.
Defensively, Thompson is tremendous, using his size and length to lock down opponents. He has excellent timing going for blocks and steals at the rim, which he pulls off on a regular basis. When the game is on the line and you need a big stop, Thompson is a player you can trust to keep his composure and make the big play.
It’s unlikely he will ever be a Laker, but it’s absolutely worth exploring if there is even a little bit of interest on Thompson’s part.