There are five teams in the entire NBA that currently have 13 or fewer players signed to the active roster. The Los Angeles Lakers are one of those teams.
After a stellar initial wave of NBA free agency, the Lakers slowed down and have taken their time with the final two roster spots. It is unclear if the team will sign two additional players but one thing is for certain: the Lakers will sign at least one more player before the start of the regular season.
That player will likely be a center as general manager Rob Pelina admitted that the team was active on the center market. Los Angeles is looking for a center with a different skill set than Jaxson Hayes, who may end up starting next to Anthony Davis.
The market has dried up as time has gone on but there are still some promising options for the team to explore. If Los Angeles really wanted to flex its scouting and development, the team could sign a very specific G League star to be a depth big next season.
Vernon Carey Jr. may be the perfect signing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Vernon Carey Jr. is a promising young center that has the physical traits to be a rotation player in the league but has not landed in a good situation yet. Carey’s only NBA experience is with the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards, two teams that have been historically awful in developing young players.
While his NBA resume is essentially empty, there is plenty to like about Carey’s game and he has played well in the G League. Carey averaged 20.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the G League last season and shot 36.4% from the field.
Carey also stood out in college with Duke, averaging 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while shooting 38.1% from three. Those numbers should not be ignored, especially since they happened both in college and in the G League.
The 22-year-old center is by no means a sharpshooter but he obviously possesses the ability to space the floor. In addition to that, Carey can do the dirty work of the center, playing near the rim to finish putbacks and grab rebounds.
There are two routes the Lakers can take with the 14th roster spot. The team could bring in a veteran who is past their prime with no upside. Or, the team could take a chance on a player that has not proven themselves yet but has the traits to be successful.
With how this team develops players, the Lakers would be silly not to go with the latter route. And Carey is one of the better options if the team does go with a young, unproven center.