The Los Angeles Lakers are seemingly back in the Buddy Hield market. After deciding to trade for Russell Westbrook instead of Hield, the Lakers reportedly offered the Kings a package headlined by Talen Horton-Tucker for Hield that the Kings obviously rejected.
It would have been exponentially better if the Lakers traded for Hield instead of Westbrook in the offseason but it also would have been exponentially better if the Lakers just ran it back with the same guys, so that is not saying much.
However, a Hield trade no longer makes much sense for the Lakers. The price of trading for Hield is naturally going to be pretty high because the Lakers are a rival and THT alone does not have much trade value.
There is a more compelling reason why the Lakers shouldn’t trade for Hield at all this offseason: the team already has a better version of Buddy Hield on the roster. If you have followed the Lakers closely this season, you know who we are talking about.
Malik Monk is a better version of Buddy Hield for the Los Angeles Lakers.
So when we talk about a “version” of Buddy Hield, what do we exactly mean? Hield is a three-point shooter who is prone to become a microwave scorer that does not play much defense. Who does that sound a lot like? Malik Monk.
This makes it even more frustrating that the Lakers are not properly utilizing Monk in the starting lineup or simply giving him more minutes. You already know that if the Lakers trade for Hield he will start and get 30 minutes a night. Monk should be getting those minutes already! He is better than Buddy Hield.
Just look at the per-36 minutes for both Monk and Hield this season. Monk has more assists per 36, only slightly fewer rebounds and is shooting at a much more efficient rate. His eFG% is nearly 70 points higher. That is a huge difference. Sure, Hield is averaging more per 36 minutes but he is averaging marginally more points with much more shots. If Monk took as many threes as Hield does at his same percentage he would be averaging 21.3 points per 36 minutes.
That is only looking at the averages as well. Malik Monk has a better offensive and defensive rating (although that is also influenced by team) while averaging far more win shares per 48 minutes (over double what Hield is averaging). Both are bad defenders, but Hield is far worse. Hield has a -1.6 Defensive Box Plus/Minus this season, Monk is at -0.6. Monk has a better BPM and the same Value Over Replacement Player, again, in less playing time.
The Los Angeles Lakers have found their version of Buddy Hield and they found it for extremely cheap. Why trade assets for a worse version of Malik Monk who you also are going to have to pay a pretty penny next season?
Instead of trading for Hield, or even entertaining the idea, all the Lakers need to do is open their eyes and give Malik Monk more playing time.