Crafting the Lakers' ideal 5-man starting lineup after the trade deadline

Los Angeles Lakers v Chicago Bulls
Los Angeles Lakers v Chicago Bulls / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Lakers' ideal shooting guard: Austin Reaves

While he has been heating up offensively as of late, the advanced numbers for Austin Reaves have not been good at all this season. The main reason for Reaves' struggles in this regard is his defense, as he is a below-average defender who can be hunted at times.

To be fair to Reaves, though, he is not necessarily being put in the right position to succeed. If Reaves is paired next to the right players then his defensive woes can be more easily disguised. That would be the case in this starting five.

Malcolm Brogdon is no defensive wizard but he is definitely better than D'Angelo Russell. Add in a solid defensive small forward that the Lakers can trade for and Reaves suddenly won't be hunted as easily.

It is also important to note that the minutes will be staggered. Reaves may be in the starting lineup and the closing lineup but he may get the bulk of his minutes during the game when LeBron James is off the court so he can be the offensive initiator.

At the end of the day, even if it hasn't always been pretty for Reaves this season, he is the third-most important player on this Lakers team. If the Lakers are going to make a run at the NBA Championship then Reaves has to be a positive part of that run.