Even though the Los Angeles Lakers were able to supplement the roster with several useful veterans in free agency in the aftermath of the Russell Westbrook trade, they still drew criticism for the overall age of the roster.
Numerous jokes have been thrown at their expense because they will have the oldest median age for the 2021-22 season, but Rob Pelinka was able to counteract that a bit when he managed to sign Malik Monk. Monk had a career year with the Charlotte Hornets during the 2020-21 season, but apparently, his market was not that strong. Although Monk surely received more lucrative offers elsewhere, the guard explained he came to L.A. to learn and grow his game.
Monk cited playing next to LeBron James as an attractive reason to play for the Lakers and he discussed how the superstar can boost his game. “Open everything up for me,” Monk said. “A lot more easier shots, a lot more uncontested shots, a lot more drives that I can get downhill to because LeBron and Westbrook and AD, they’re all gonna make the floor spaced out for all of us.”
Monk also talked about Anthony Davis and seemed enthusiastic about the prospect of lining up beside him. “He’s a big man that can play the guard position and he can guard 1-5 too as well. So if LeBron’s not the biggest part, AD probably is the key to this. I don’t want to say the key, we’re all keys, but AD is probably one of the biggest parts of this team because what can he not do? I’m just looking forward to it, I’m super, super excited.”
Playing next to two stars like James and Davis should benefit someone like Monk who has yet to truly make a name for himself. With his blend of athleticism and shooting, Monk should be able to carve out a role on the Lakers and hopefully show the league that he can contribute on a contender.
Kent Bazemore hoping to learn from Trevor Ariza
Even though the Lakers are full of accomplished players, the new additions all cited a desire to learn more and expand their respective games. Kent Bazemore will be leaned upon to be the team’s designated 3-and-D wing and he revealed he is looking to mold his game after Trevor Ariza.
“Trevor Ariza is a guy I’m looking forward to learning a lot from being a wing defender,” Bazemore said. “He made an outstanding career from being a 3-and-D guy. I’m looking forward to picking his brain.”
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