The history of the Los Angeles Lakers might be dominated by the superstars whose numbers hang in the rafters but in recent years, it has been the team’s player development that has shined the brightest.
There is not a team in the league that has not only been able to identify promising talent but get the most out of that talent. Just look at the rapid rise of Austin Reaves, who legitimately could be an all-star in the next four years.
But the Lakers are not perfect and they are not going to turn every single young player with some potential into a star. Some young players do deserve that extra attention. Others should probably be cast away. Let’s draw the line in the sand and break down who LA should hang onto and who the team can let go (not counting the two picks in the 2023 NBA Draft).
The Lakers should continue to develop Cole Swider
Cole Swider was signed as an undrafted free agent after the 2022 NBA Draft and he instantly became a standout in the Summer League. Swider looked as polished as it comes and it looked like he could play a role on the Lakers in his rookie season.
The former Syracuse forward ultimately signed a two-way deal with the Lakers that saw him spend most of his time in the G League. There, Swider showed some of the same potential and proved that he can be a legitimate off-ball shooting threat.
The results were not as good in 2023’s Summer League (albeit still solid) and some may be ready to give up on Swider. However, as long as another team is not going to swoop in and sign him, there really is no reason for this partnership to end. If Swider can continue shooting well and add more of a defensive presence to his game then he could end up being a valuable rotational guy for the Lake Show.