With the NBA season nearly a quarter of the way through and the Los Angeles Lakers having one of the worst records in the Western Conference, the time may have come for the Lakers to consider making some changes to the lineup and rotation.
This is around the time when Byron Scott said that he would consider making some changes, but as of this time, everything has remained the same. While the team has played better in recent weeks, there are still some possible changes that could improve the team.
The play of Carlos Boozer, Wesley Johnson and Jeremy Lin has been inconsistent so far this season while some players off the bench has have played well in limited minutes and could deserve more. Then there is Jordan Clarkson who is the one Laker who can’t find his way on the floor.
In this ridiculously tough Western Conference, the Lakers will need to do something if they plan on making a run and competing with the top teams. So we asked our experts, which changes to the lineup/rotation would you make to improve the Lakers? This is what they had to say:
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): Fans have been calling for Ed Davis to be inserted in the starting lineup for a while now. Personally, I would rather see him stay coming off the bench. But I would like to see him get more minutes.
Davis has been seeing less than 20 minutes per game in the last five and that just is unacceptable. He should be getting at least 25 minutes per night barring foul trouble as he is the team’s best defender and one of the best rebounders.
The only reason I wouldn’t want Davis to start is because it would push Hill away from the basket as Davis is ineffective outside of five feet. Hill is already relying too much on his jumper, and Davis in the lineup would make it worse, plus it could hinder Hill’s offensive rebounding, which is his best asset.
There should be a change in the starting lineup, however, and I would like to see Wayne Ellington in the lineup in place of Wesley Johnson.
Ellington has played very well in limited minutes, is a decent defender, and provides floor spacing as probably the best pure shooter on the team. He would give Kobe a more consistent offensive option in the starting lineup.
Johnson has been terribly inconsistent during his time with the Lakers and he just isn’t cut out to be a starter. Maybe he can find his niche as an energy guy off the bench, but he doesn’t need to be in the starting lineup anymore.
Russell Valenzuela (@RussVal4): Considering how shorthanded the roster has become due to injuries, I would like to see Jordan Clarkson receive more minutes. The rookie hasn’t been able to crack the rotation and see any playing time since the Dallas Mavericks blew out the Los Angeles Lakers November 21.
In the games that followed, the Lakers have held close to their opponents which could be a reason why Byron Scott hasn’t looked in the rookie’s direction. Kobe Bryant has been carrying the team just as he has done throughout his career but is doing so while playing plenty of minutes.
There are plenty of times where Bryant looks tired and exhausted on the court as his shots, free throws included, end up falling short. The Lakers have always been living and dying with Bryant, but with plenty of games still left in the season, making sure he gets some rest would suit the team better in the long run.
Clarkson can play both guard positions and can give Bryant those short periods of rest throughout the game. The Lakers backcourt looks crowded with Jeremy Lin, Ronnie Price, Nick Young, and Wayne Ellington all taking up minutes as well, but Clarkson is going to need to play some meaningful NBA minutes sometime soon.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): Bench Jeremy Lin.
There’s no question that a lot of changes need to be made to the Los Angeles Lakers lineup, but one move that can be made right now is having Lin come off the bench.
When Lin is locked in, he’s a force to be reckoned with. Not the greatest defender, though no one on this team really is outside of a motivated Kobe Bryant, but Lin can make things happen when he’s attacking offensively.
The biggest problem with Lin is that you never know what you’re going to get night in and night out. Lin has struggled to be consistent all season long making it difficult for the Lakers to get going on the offensive end of the floor.
I’m not suggesting that Ronnie Price is the answer to the Lakers’ problems at floor general, but he might be the better option as the starter at this point in time. Price is clearly a better defender and might be the better option alongside Kobe.
I would even go as far as to say Kobe would be a better option at point guard right now. Bryant in facilitating mode seems to benefit this team greatly due to his ability to draw the defense therefore opening up options for his teammates.
Lin coming off the bench with Nick Young might be the way to go. At this point, the Lakers aren’t going to suffer by at least experimenting with Lin a reserve role.
Nathan Kim (@Kimchiz): The Lakers are currently 5-14 and are in second to last in the Western Conference. This season’s start is one of the worst in franchise history. A change must be made in order to turn this year’s season around. One of the main things needed to be changed is the starting line up.
The most obvious change to this lineup would be to substitute Carlos Boozer for Ed Davis. While, not as big of an offensive power as Boozer is, Ed Davis can contribute defensively with the starters. He averages 1.3 blocks and is a great rim protector. Furthermore, the offensive load can be put more on Hill who has shown that he can handle such a responsibility this season.
Boozer is extremely limited defensively. On a team that struggles on that end, this is extremely important. Furthermore, if you compare Boozer and Davis’s stats per 36 minutes, Davis’s stats are far more efficient. Boozer is a decent shooter and his offensive abilities could be useful as a part of the second team. His veteran leadership can lead the younger second team to playing at a high level.
Byron Scott may find it hard to ask Boozer to give up his spot in the starting five, but if the Lakers want to win more games they need to make some sort of a change. The kind of basketball that they are playing right now has not won them many games.
The Lakers are 19 games into the season. Boozer had ample time to show that he deserved a spot on the team. Enough time has gone by and Scott has every right to change the lineup as he sees fit. Scott must make a change and I believe that this is one of the first changes that need to be made.
Kevin Chan (@Kevin_Cruiser): The Lakers have a plethora of problems that won’t be solved entirely by tweaking the line-up. But if I were to adjust the lineup I would play Ed Davis more. I might even start him. Davis is the Lakers best rim defender and he’s also a prolific rebounder.
Sure, Boozer may be a better offensive weapon than Davis, but the Lakers don’t necessarily need help on offense. Their offense is ranked in eleventh in the league – they score 105.4 points per 100 possessions. Meanwhile their defense is dead last in the league – they give up 112.4 points per 100 possessions.
Clearly the line-up could benefit from having more defenders on the court. I’d like to see Davis get 25-30 minutes per game instead of the paltry 21 minutes he averages at the moment.
Additionally I’d like to see the rookie Jordan Clarkson get some minutes as well. He seems to have great upside and it’s a waste for the Lakers to let him languish on the bench or in the D-League. I’d let him take Ellington’s minutes and back-up Kobe at shooting guard. In a season where the team doesn’t really have much to gain, it would be smart to develop the rookie.[divide]
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