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 Lakers /

3. Center

Young bigs Zubac and Bryant are entering their third and second seasons, respectively. Each has tantalizing skills, but whether either is ready to step into a major role is as yet uncertain.

Zubac has had several impressive performances, His biggest strength so far is setting solid picks and rolling to and finishing at the hoop. He also does an excellent job cleaning up misses on the offensive boards. But his slow-footed lateral movement and limited hops hurt him on defense.

Bryant had an outstanding G League season. He can shoot the 3-ball and has an enthusiastic attitude. However, he might lack the size or bulk to play effective defense against quality opponents. Right now, he’s essentially an untested work in progress.

If Randle is re-signed, he will play minutes as a small-ball center. But the Lakers will still want someone bigger to provide competent inside play. If they look beyond Zubac and Bryant for that role, they have a few choices.

First of all, they have been linked to promising prospect Mitchell Robinson, who may or may not be available when the Lakers draft 25th. He is young and inexperienced but has great potential.

Secondly, they might turn once again to one of their own free agents. Brook Lopez provided an intriguing combination of low post offense and 3-point shooting. He has not publicly stated what his priorities are for his next contract. But returning to the Lakers at a lower salary is certainly a possibility.

Several other free agent centers will be available, headlined by DeMarcus Cousins, who is recuperating from a torn Achilles. A complete recovery from that injury is problematic and will scare away many teams, most likely including the Lakers.