The Los Angeles Lakers have sort of zigged while the rest of the league has zagged in terms of their usage of big men. They prided themselves on interior defense under head coach Frank Vogel and flummoxed every team they played in the playoff bubble by going big against their small-ball lineups.
While the Lakers have picked up both Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol to supplement their stable of big men, neither are fantastic rim protectors.
Losing Dwight Howard to the Philadelphia 76ers stings in the sense that the Lakers lost their best interior defensive presence not named Anthony Davis. The Lakers also dealt Javale McGee and his $4 million contract to the Cleveland Cavaliers to create the room under the hard cap to grab Marc Gasol. Both men are fantastic rim protectors and now the Lakers are without both of them.
Marc Gasol represents a fantastic stretch five option and figures to get a majority of the center minutes for the team. Montrezl Harrell and Markieff Morris can both play some minutes at the five. Anthony Davis will likely get the crunch time minutes as the center.
However, the thing is, none of those guys are rim runners or rim protectors in the traditional sense. McGee and Howard both were and that was entirely their role — a role in which they thrived under the offensive schemes of Frank Vogel.
Some current free agents who fit this mold are Ian Mahinmi, Tyson Chandler who has experience with the purple and gold, and Dewayne Dedmon.