The Los Angeles Lakers completely turned their season around after starting off 2-10, finishing above .500 to at least qualify for the Play-In Tournament as the Western Conference’s seventh or eighth seed, perhaps still moving up to sixth as well.
Los Angeles was one of the most active teams at the trade deadline, managing to overhaul the roster through a series of moves. Out went players like Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley and in came younger, more productive pieces in D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Mo Bamba. In one fell swoop, the Lakers were able to get younger and more athletic while also adding some much-needed outside shooting.
L.A.’s roster has looked much more cohesive and should be considered a serious threat to make a run if they can make the postseason. Although they can compete with just about anyone with their current collection of talent, they still have one open roster spot that could be used on a player before the end of the season.
The Lakers kept their 15th roster spot open for a majority of the season, but Sunday marks the deadline to add any players ahead of the postseason.
It appears the Lakers are indeed going to finish the 2022-23 season with a full 15-man roster as they’ve reportedly signed Tristan Thompson and Shaquille Harrison while waiving Davon Reed, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
The Lakers are signing two players today to add depth for the postseason, sources told ESPN. L.A. will sign guard Shaq Harrison, a defensive-minded point guard, and Tristan Thompson, a veteran center with playoff experience on LeBron James’ teams in Cleveland. Both players…
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 9, 2023
Although the purple and gold addressed their most glaring needs at the deadline, adding guys like Thompson and Harrison makes sense as they could come in and play spot minutes when needed. Darvin Ham already has a solid 10-man rotation, but with injuries at both the point guard and center positions, they can use some depth.
Harrison spent the majority of the year with the South Bay Lakers before recently earning a promotion with the Portland Trail Blazers on a 10-day contract. Now that the contract has expired, he is returning to L.A. for the rest of the year.
Thompson has not played this season but has years of NBA experience, a lot of them coming alongside LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s unlikely that either guy makes a big impact in the postseason much like Reed didn’t get much action during the regular season, but they do give the Lakers some much-needed depth in case of injury.
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