When the Los Angeles Lakers shook up their roster at the trade deadline last season, it paid off big time resulting in the spark they needed to turn their season around. It was thought that their free agent signings from this offseason would have a similar effect because they acquired guys that seemingly fit well around their two stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
However, injuries and lack of time playing together led to inconsistency and caused them to play from behind in almost every game through the first handful of games to start the season. Part of the blame was put on head coach Darvin Ham for not clearly defining players’ roles going into the season, but that can be expected for a team with this much turnover in the last couple of years.
Some of the Lakers’ new faces have fit in right away and look like they can help this team win down the road and into the playoffs. Other players are still struggling to find their role on this roster and might be on their way out when the trade deadline rolls around in mid-February.
This team still has plenty of time to figure it out and right the ship and they may have already started to do just that. Everyone remembers the 2-10 storm they were able to weather last year and despite their record, they have already proven they can compete with some of the top teams in the league like Denver and Phoenix.
It is probably too soon to grade these players’ performance, especially with a couple of them missing games due to injuries, but in Laker land, knee-jerk reactions are our specialty. These are the way too early grades for the newly acquired free agents.
Christain Wood’s Lakers Grade: A
The Lakers’ last player to sign in free agency was Christain Wood, and he has turned out to be their best move so far. He has played well off the bench on both sides of the court and has been a natural fit next to AD in the front court.
The knock on Wood has always been his defense, but he has already shown a willingness to buy in with effort on that end averaging .7 blocks and 5.1 defensive rebounds per game. His scoring ability has also translated well into the Lakers scheme, his versatility to get his own shot down low and stretch the floor from long range has helped the offense when he has been out there.
Wood looks like a candidate to finish games and be a major factor for a Lakers team that struggles to find a third scorer outside of LeBron and AD. He is leading the team in 3-point percentage and also leads the team in the plus-minus category.
He was the easiest player to grade out of this free agent class because it is clear that the Lakers have been better when he is on the floor, so his A grade is warranted. The Lakers are lucky that they were able to sign him considering they waited so long into free agency to do so.