Los Angeles Lakers: Tier 1 free agents to target

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

2. Nikola Vucevic

Nikola Vucevic is one of the more ‘under-the-radar’ free agents this offseason. Part of this is because he’s been playing for a Magic team that hasn’t been getting a lot of attention, another part was his subpar performance in the postseason.

You might be asking why the Lakers should go after a player like Vucevic when they already have Anthony Davis? It’s been said before, but Anthony Davis’ preferred position is the power forward spot and has voiced his reluctance to play the center position full-time.

Pairing Davis with an elite center in Vucevic has the potential to create a Twin Towers 2.0, akin to when Davis had a brief stint playing alongside DeMarcus Cousins in New Orleans. Vucevic is arguably a more versatile scorer than Cousins, as this past season, he shot 37% from three, 69% at the rim, and 46% from the mid-range, placing him in the upper 90th percentile amongst all centers in terms of FG%.

In addition to his shooting touch, Vucevic excelled as a passer as well, averaging a career-high 3.8 assists, which is impressive considering the team around him.

Obviously, there are concerns when it comes to crunch time when you’d ideally want Davis to occupy the 5-spot over Vucevic. So it’s hard to justify paying near max-money to a guy who ostensibly wouldn’t be on the floor at the most critical moments, especially when there are other glaring holes at other positions for this Lakers team.

But at the same time, having an elite center option to go to at the end of games could potentially help Davis’ effectiveness by reducing the wear and tear of going against the more physical big men in the league.

Having these two would also give LeBron James two elite pick-and-roll options, who are both capable of spacing out for a jump shot, or rolling to the rim.