Los Angeles Lakers: 5 Biggest needs for the 2018 offseason

(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
(Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 05: Head Coach Luke Walton of the Los Angeles Lakers talks with Julius Randle #30 during the second half of a 107-101 Jazz win at Staples Center on December 5, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

1. Power Forward

Ideally, a power forward provides inside scoring and strong rebounding along with great picks and rim protection. Kuzma will certainly log some minutes at this position as a “stretch 4”. But he doesn’t have a big enough body to do the dirty work inside on a full-time basis.

Clearly the best candidate for this position is the Lakers own restricted free agent Julius Randle, who had a break-out 2017-18 season when he led the team in points and rebounds per game as well as shooting percentage in addition to games played. Once he was inserted into the starting lineup, he played at an All-Star level, averaging nearly 20 points and almost 10 rebounds a game.

Randle’s outside shot is at best unreliable, which causes some fans to want to let him walk. But there are few players in the league with his strong physical inside presence. He finished fourth in the NBA in baskets at the rim behind three all-NBA players (Lebron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Russell Westbrook), consistently punishing opponents who tried to stop him. He excelled at switching on to a smaller player on defense. Also, he is reportedly working hard this offseason to improve his jumper.

Re-signing Randle would be a strong, positive step for the Lakers. It would also send a clear message to prospective free agents that the Lakers take care of their own players. If, on the other hand, the front office failed to retain him, finding a replacement as good as Randle would be a difficult task and would signal a major step backwards.