In the modern NBA the emphasis on small-ball lineups and outside shooting has made for some exciting games. However, the Los Angeles Lakers proved that size is still an advantage.
The Lakers thrived during the 2020 NBA Playoffs thanks to their physicality and length in the painted area. The big man rotation of JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis deterred several teams from attacking the rim and Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was able to scheme his defense to perfection.
Davis at the center spot, in particular, was Los Angeles’ ultimate trump card as the superstar is able to do everything a wing player can. However, the biggest difference was his size as he was able to effectively guard each position while creating mismatches for teams on the offensive end.
The collective size of the Lakers caused teams like the Utah Jazz to chase big men in free agency, via Eric Walden of Salt Lake Tribune:
In pre-camp meeting with media, Dennis Lindsey said the Lakers matchups last season, particularly the game in SLC, gave the Jazz a clear window into what they were missing defensively, namely the ability to go to big-big lineups. That caused them to focus on Derrick Favors in FA.
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) November 30, 2020
Favors’ return to the Jazz makes sense as Rudy Gobert alone can not account for Davis, Marc Gasol and Montrezl Harrell. Utah was unable to compete with Los Angeles last season due to the latter’s more athletic and physically imposing front court, but Favors will put up more resistance when the two teams face off.
However, the traditional big men on the Laker roster are only one piece to the puzzle as they also have LeBron James and Markieff Morris. Both forwards can slide up or down a position, creating even more lineup flexibility for Vogel.
The Lakers may not even be done adding to the team, as they are reportedly looking for centers to help Davis get through the 2020-21 season. Having an additional big man will allow Davis to play his preferred power forward position and keep him well-equipped to take on the postseason where he will presumably play most of his minutes at center.
Potential center options for Lakers
While free agency has all but wrapped up, there are still a few players left in the market that could come in and help the Lakers.
One popular option is Dewayne Dedmon. He was recently waived by the Detroit Pistons and would be a worthwhile flier. If Dedmon decides to sign elsewhere, L.A. could also look to others such as Taj Gibson or Kyle O’Quinn.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!