Sixteen is Nice, Seventeen is Better

2. Energy Off the Bench

With a starting lineup essentially set in stone if Fisher is re-signed, the Lakers are left to look for players to fit on a bench that struggled last season, to say the least. What the Lakers could use most is a player who brings intensity during big games, having the ability to knock down shots and slash to the basket.

May 24, 2010 - Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - epa02171471 Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes reacts during the second quarter of the Eastern Conference final round playoff game at the TD Bank Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 24 May 2010. The Celtics lead the best-of-seven series 3-0 and the winner will advance to play either the Los Angeles Lakers or the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals.

Raja Bell is a free agent whose name has been mentioned a few times in Lakers free agency talks. Bell only played 6 games last year between Charlotte and Golden State due to a wrist injury that kept him sidelined. However, Bell is not far removed from his defensive battle with Kobe Bryant in the 2006 playoffs and the swingman still exhibits strong characteristics on that end of the floor.

While defense is sometimes difficult to illustrate with statistics, scoring is not. In this respect Bell excels at hitting the corner three in big games, averaging approximately 40% from deep in 7 of his 10 seasons in the NBA. Bell could be the slasher off the bench that former Laker great and GM Jerry West suggests the Lakers need. With Bell, the Lakers get a strong guard who can hit big shots and provide an intensity that could carry the team through games.

Matt Barnes is a player similar to Raja Bell that has expressed his interest in joining the defending champs. The most appealing thing coming out of Barnes is that very early on in the free agent hunt he expressed his willingness to come off the bench if it meant contending for a title. Much like Bell, Barnes can hit the corner three and is a defensive spark plug. In the past season he showed improvement as a rebounder, averaging a career high 5.5 RPG. He would be asking for a raise from his 1.8 million dollars from this season, but with the Magic only being able to give him their mid level exception the Lakers could easily offer theirs if they decided to go in that direction.

Next: Final Thoughts…

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