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 small forward: Royce O'Neale

The Lakers need to look for someone who can hit shots as an off-ball target while also being able to defend the perimeter at a high level. The team can look no further than Royce O'Neale, who can play a very similar role as Danny Green did on the 2020 title team.

O'Neale is shooting above 39% from three this season with a 1.3 Defensive Box Plus/Minus. He is one of just seven players in the league to have those numbers with at least 100 three-point shots attempted. The only player who has those numbers and has attempted more threes is Derrick White.

O'Neale might not quite be White but he can be the Lakers' version of him. Sure, this would leave the Lakers on the smaller size as O'Neale is only six-four, but this is similar to the size that the team had back in 2020 when it won the title.

Plus, Brogdon and O'Neale can be savvy additions that do not cost the farm and allow the team to maintain future flexibility. The price for O'Neale would likely be something along the lines of Taurean Prince, Max Christie, and a future second-round pick or two. It would not cost much at all.

In theory, the Lakers would keep the team's future first-round picks and would keep most of the depth as well. Los Angeles would still have Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish, Christian Wood, and Gabe Vincent (once he eventually gets healthy) to bring off the bench.

A starting five of Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Royce O'Neale, Austin Reaves and Malcolm Brogdon can absolutely contend for the NBA Championship.

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