Bring in a rim-protecting big
Rim protection was not a problem what so ever for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. They had a glut of players capable of protecting the rim at all times.
JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard, and Anthony Davis formed a trio of big men who had opposing teams second-guessing whether they wanted to enter the paint.
The Lakers wanted to evolve as a squad, they wanted to be able to spread the floor a bit better in order to make life easier for everyone. The purple and gold did this by bringing in Marc Gasol, and it has paid dividends immediately.
Gasol has come in and been a revelation with his ability to stretch the floor, to be a solid playmaker, and while he is getting older, is he still a capable defender.
To realize this new vision, the Lakers had to sacrifice.
While the Lakers got Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol, they lost JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard.
The Lakers definitely upgraded at the position but the only area they did not upgrade is from a rim protection standpoint.
Gasol so far this season is averaging 1.6BPG, if he keeps this up then rim protection should not be a problem.
However, the problem is over-relying on a 35-year-old center to keep up this rim-protecting level of play for an entire season and still expect him to be impactful come playoff time.
It would be wise for the Lakers to try and find, at some point in the season a worthy depth piece to come in and lighten the load for Gasol.
One player who could be of use is former Miami Heat and current Sacramento Kings center, Hassan Whiteside.
Whiteside is not having a good time with the Kings. He is actually having his worst season in a decade on a team that is currently 13th in the Western Conference.
Whiteside returned to the team that gave him his 1st chance in the NBA and so far it simply is not going to plan.
The 7″ footer has seemingly found himself at odds with former Lakers head coach and current Kings head coach Luke Walton. His minutes are the lowest they have been in a decade, he has not started a single game and has been a healthy scratch for the Kings numerous times already in an already young NBA season.
There is a genuine chance that the Kings could look to trade him, but they are destroying any and all trade value that Whiteside might have.
The Los Angeles Lakers could potentially offer Alfonzo McKinnie and a 2nd round pick for Whiteside. This would be a decent deal for both sides as the Kings would get a prospect they can try out for the season and if they like him they have a team option for the next two years, or if he isn’t part of their future plans, they can waive him for free at the end of the season and they will receive a future 2nd rounder for their troubles.
It also isn’t out of the realm of possibility that Whiteside simply seeks a buyout. With Whiteside being on a Vet minimum deal, it would cost the Kings next to nothing to move on from him.
Whiteside on the Lakers would be an extravagant luxury.
This time last year Whiteside was averaging 2.9BPG and 13.5RPG in 30 minutes of play. If the Lakers were to dial back Marc Gasol’s minutes at the back end of the season, they would have Whiteside available to claim these minutes, and not only would the rim protection for the Lakers not drop off, it would get even better.
This would also have a knock-on effect for Anthony Davis. AD would be able to relax a bit more knowing that Whiteside will be cleaning the board and blocking shots. It also stops Davis from having to play Center minutes down the stretch of the season with Whiteside able to cover any minutes needed.
If the Lakers can land Whiteside, they would be putting themselves in a magnificent position to rest their key big men late in the season and have them ready and fresh for the playoffs.