After his outstanding level of play to end the season, it is logical to assume that Brandon Ingram will be occupying the Los Angeles Lakers’ starting small forward position moving forward. The question now becomes what exactly does that mean for the Lakers highest-paid player, Luol Deng.
To say Deng was something of a disappointment this season would be an understatement. He posted career-low averages in both points and field goal percentage and looked like someone whose best years are behind him.
Deng still has three more guaranteed years on his contract and would likely be difficult to trade even if the Lakers tried so it would seem likely he’ll be on the roster next year. As far as where exactly he could make more of an impact, Deng has an idea according to Mark Medina of the LA Daily News:
“In terms of my future,” Deng said, “I would like to play at the 4 more.”
Deng would explain why he feels he is more effective at the power forward position:
“The 3 is more of a spot-up position for a lot of teams. I think I struggle with that,” Deng said. “I have to find a way, and I think Luke agrees, to get back to moving and being involved in screens. I can always read screens, slip in or cut. That’s where I really perform best. I have a knack for rebounding. A lot of times at the 3, you have to get back to balance the floor.”
Deng has good reason for this belief as he was very effective over his previous two seasons with the Miami Heat while primarily playing power forward. The problem for this is that the Lakers already have two talented young players at the position.
Sacrificing the minutes of Julius Randle or Larry Nance Jr. in favor of Deng just doesn’t make sense for the Lakers. The thought process of Deng is sound, but with the current roster, let alone whatever additions are made in the offseason, this may just not be possible.