The Los Angeles Lakers built a very talented roster this offseason by bringing back the key members of last season’s team while also making savvy depth upgrades. It is safe to say that the Lakers had a very good showing in NBA free agency.
As it stands right now, the Lake Show has 13 players signed to the active roster for the 2022-23 season. That gives the team two more roster spots to play with to deepen the rotation. Depth is extremely important in the regular season if the Lakers are going to make another deep playoff run.
While those roster spots could theoretically go to anyone, there are two players that make the most sense to fill out the purple and gold’ roster for next season. Both players are young and both players add something unique to the rotation.
D’Moi Hodge should be in the Lakers rotation
D’Moi Hodge was instantly circled as a potential hidden gem undrafted pickup for the Lakers and so far he has lived up to that billing. Hodge’s potential as a two-way player that plays hard-nosed defense while being able to knock down threes as an off-ball shooter is very valuable.
Hodge is exactly the kind of three-and-D rotation player the Lakers need to add and he plays a position that is rather thin right now at shooting guard. As great as Max Christie has looked, LA needs more depth than just Christie and Austin Reaves at the two-guard.
Hodge may not have a high ceiling like Reaves has but he has shown with a strong Summer League that he has what it takes to log 12-15 minutes off the bench in his rookie season and play efficient basketball.
Darius Bazley should be in the Lakers rotation
Rob Pelinka said that the team is active in the free-agent center market and that the Lakers are looking for someone with a different skillset than Jaxson Hayes. The team should look no further than Darius Bazley, who has ties to LeBron James as a Klutch Sports client.
Bazley is not as big as a traditional center but he can help space the floor while also providing solid defense in the frontcourt. Bazley is very lengthy and is one of the more underrated shot-blockers in the entire league. Bazley ranks 29th since he came into the league in blocks per 36 minutes (1.1) ahead of the likes of Deandre Ayton and Karl-Anthony Towns.
Albeit in a small sample size, Bazley was one of just four players last season to finish with 2.0 blocks per 36 minutes and shoot better than 37% from three (minimum 600 minutes, 50 total three-point shots attempted). The other three were Mo Bamba, Myles Turner and Brook Lopez.
Bazley is certainly going to sign for the minimum and better yet, he probably could be signed to a non-guaranteed contract. This could allow the Lakers to cut him with no additional cost in the future if a better option gets bought out in the future.