Predicting the Lakers perfect starting lineup after an ideal offseason

The Los Angeles Lakers have limited resources, but still enough to make a splash this offseason. What would an ideal starting lineup look like if everything worked out this summer?
Los Angeles Lakers v Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Lakers v Indiana Pacers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages
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Starting Lakers Power Forward: Jalen Smith

With a big trade sending Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura to the Eastern Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers need a forward. In a perfect world, the Lakers would be able to sign a bruiser who can start and defend the likes of—or even just specifically—Nikola Jokic.

The options are scarce, however, and the Lakers should instead look to find depth by adding reserves such as Goga Bitadze, Moses Brown, and Daniel Theis to create depth down low. In terms of a gamble on a starter, a one-year deal being handed to Jalen Smith could be a risk worth taking if the Lakers believe they can tap into his obvious potential.

Earlier this season, it seemed crazy to suggest that Smith, a pending free agent, would settle for a one-year deal. He's since fallen out of the rotation in Indiana, however, which could result in a willingness to sign for less in a major market as he positions himself for a bigger payday in 2025.

In terms of what the Lakers would be getting in Smith, there's no denying how intriguing Smith is from a pure statistical perspective.

Smith finished the 2023-24 regular season with averages of 20.7 points, 11.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 3.9 offensive boards, and 2.1 three-point field goals made per 36 minutes. He did so while shooting 59.2 percent from the field and 42.4 percent from beyond the arc.

Standing at 6'9" with a 7'2.25" wingspan, Smith would bring an intriguing combination of length and production to a Lakers team in need of both.

The risk here is that Smith is listed at a light 215 pounds, which wouldn't do much to help the team with its need for strength down low. In saying that, he's not averse to playing a physical style of basketball and has a frame that could fill out with the proper training and development.

When all else fails, Smith's career average of 3.7 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes would be of great value to a Lakers team that ranked dead last in the NBA in second chance points in 2023-24.