Sixteen is Nice, Seventeen is Better

1. Point Guard

The Lakers struggled defending the point and it showed in this year’s playoffs. Young stars Westbrook, Williams and Rondo all took turns pushing the Laker defense to the limits. But the triangle offense is not a haven for true point guards, which is why the stronger Derek Fisher has succeeded using his poise in executing the offense. Fisher had a valuable showing during the 2010 Playoffs. During the season he averaged just 7.5 points in just over 27 minutes, but jumped to 10.3 points in 33 minutes once April rolled around. He proved to be most valuable during the West Finals, averaging 11.8 points.

June 17, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02208478 Los Angeles Lakers player Derek Fisher gets beer poured over his head in the locker room after their win over the Boston Celtics in game seven of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 June 2010. Los Angeles leads the series 4-3 for the best of seven games. The Los Angeles Lakers won 83-79.

Being a fan favorite, Fisher is always in the right place at the right time to hit the shots the Lakers need to win. These playoffs proved to be no different, with Derek sealing the Lakers Game 3 win over Boston in the Finals, as well as hitting a huge game-tying shot in the closing moments of Game 7. There is no better guard to defend against the screen than Derek, as he was able to show against the Celtics. The 13 year vet will be turning 36 this offseason, and while the tread on those tires would be a concern to most fans, the bigger worry should be if the Lakers are the team he’s hitting big shots against next postseason.

Shannon Brown is another player who has value in the eyes of the fans. Known for having one of the league’s biggest vertical leaps at 45 inches, he earned his way to the 2010 NBA Dunk Contest on a fan sparked movement. The 2009-2010 seasons saw Shannon earn career highs in most of the major statistical categories: points per game (8.1) and minutes per game (20.7) as well as in blocks, steals, assists and rebounds. His athletic build is undeniable, and he could prove to acquire valuable minutes with the aging of Derek Fisher and the imminent departure of Jordan Farmar. The Lakers are already pursuing to re-sign Shannon, who repeatedly insists he wants to stay in LA and further integrate himself into the triangle.

Among the new faces the Lakers are looking at to back up point is 30 year old veteran Steve Blake. Fresh off his half-season with the Clippers where he shot career bests 43.7% from three and 44.3% overall, Blake could easily lift an often lacking Laker bench. On April 14th he proved he could still score in bunches, helping beat the Lakers by knocking down 4 of 6 from deep and totaling 23 points. His pass-first mentality coupled with his ability to knock down big shots could be the spark the Lakers need to stay competitive in games.

While Blake seems to be the number one choice the Lakers are also looking at guards Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour. Watson is a proven passer, averaging over 5 assists in each of the last 4 seasons which could be big in the production by the bench. Ridnour could also be an asset, averaging just over 10 points on a respectable 48% shooting last season. He also had sizeable performances for the Bucks during their grueling 7 game series with the Hawks in the first round.

Next: Tightening Up the Bench…

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