The Lakers made Timofey Mozgov one of their prime targets during free agency this past summer, reaching a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers big man just minutes after the opening bell. The Russian-born center formerly played for Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw when they were in Denver, and the hope was that Mozgov would be able to protect the rim for the Lakers on the defensive end while setting massive screens for D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson on offense.
However, it appears that his role may be evolving a bit. According to Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News, Mozgov will have an opportunity to prove that he can also shoot threes:
Mozgov on if he’ll take 3’s in a game: “I got a special play for me.” We laughed, so Mozgov said, “It’s no joke. I’m serious.”
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) October 6, 2016
While this will certainly raise some eyebrows, Mozgov shooting threes isn’t completely unheard of. In the 2013-14 NBA season, Mozgov attempted 24 threes while playing for Shaw in Denver. Unfortunately, he only made four of them, and from there has only taken six or seven threes per season since. Mozgov is shooting a horrific 18 percent from three for his career, but he has shot so few of them that the sample size is extremely small and most of his attempts likely came in situations where the shot clock was winding down, and he had to shoot under duress.
Additionally, we saw Mozgov knocking down threes while playing for Russia this summer in the EuroBasket qualifiers, and in the video at the top of the page, Lakers Nation caught Mozgov and Lakers teammate Yi Jianlian working on threes during practice.
Still, Mozgov hasn’t exactly been considered a marksman over the course of his career, so it would be a surprise if he started taking large numbers of threes. The Lakers may indeed have a special play to free up Mozgov from deep, but don’t expect to see him transition into a stretch five anytime soon.