NBA News: Why Lakers should exchange for Zach LaVine quickly.


Why Lakers must trade for Zach LaVine ASAP to save season

The Los Angeles Lakers are in dire straits at the moment. They have won just three of their past 12 games since hoisting the inaugural NBA Cup, and due to their subpar results on the hardwood, there’s been reported disconnect between head coach Darvin Ham and the Lakers locker room.

Ham may be feeling the heat on his coaching seat, as he isn’t a perfect coach by any means.

He’s also made a few confusing decisions, such as bringing D’Angelo Russell off the bench when Austin Reaves was already commandeering the second unit. But this is the same coach who had the gall to bench Russell Westbrook last season, and he was also able to push the right buttons in helping engineer the Lakers’ mid-season turnaround in 2023.

At this point, what the Lakers need is a roster shake-up. They need to surround LeBron James and Anthony Davis with multi-faceted players; at present, the likes of Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, and Jarred Vanderbilt are handicapping their offense significantly, as they cannot create any offense for themselves or for others.

Thus, it’s reasonable to expect that the Lakers will not stand pat in the lead-up to the trade deadline.

They’ve been linked with All-Stars Zach LaVine and Dejounte Murray; however, the former is the more realistic target, and he should be an even more useful piece to have alongside James and Davis anyway for the reasons listed below.

The Lakers need top-level scoring

At the time of writing, the Lakers rank 24th in the league in offensive rating, scoring just 111.9 points per 100 possessions.

Having an elite offense isn’t exactly a prerequisite to competing for a championship, although it does help.As long as the team can score more points than their opponents, that’s what matters.

However, the Lakers’ outsized emphasis on giving defensive-minded players heavy minutes isn’t working as well as intended.

They rank 10th in the NBA

They rank 10th in the NBA in defensive rating, but they’re allowing 113.0 points per 100 possessions. Simply put, the Lakers don’t have the two-way balance to warrant giving heavy minutes to one-dimensional players.

In basketball, there is something called a defensive feedback loop. This, in layman’s terms, simply means that the more an offense scores, the more it helps their defense.

Don’t tell that to the Indiana Pacers and Dallas Mavericks, though. Scoring field goals, drawing free throws, and avoiding live-ball turnovers helps the team set up its halfcourt defense.

If the Lakers cannot score enough, this gives opposing teams chances to run. It also causes more fatigue, as it requires the team to get back on defense more diligently to prevent easy transition baskets.

The Lakers’ current offense-defense balance is out of whack, and injuries aren’t the sole reason for this.

This is what makes Darvin Ham’s decision to bring D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves off the bench that much more confounding; at 39 years old, LeBron James simply cannot be the one making every decision for the Lakers whenever he’s on the court. That is too demanding of a task.

Zach LaVine is a certified three-level scorer with room to improve.

Now, is acquiring Zach LaVine a catch-all solution? Perhaps not. But LaVine would give the Lakers its best tertiary option in the LeBron James-Anthony Davis era, and it’s not going to be particularly close.

For starters, LaVine is someone who flourishes not as a primary ballhandler, but as someone who can slice and dice defenses while coming off pindowns, curls, and handoffs.

He’s more athletic than most guards that he can blow by them whenever he has a slight advantage on the perimeter, and with James and Davis drawing plenty of attention, LaVine would surely get plenty of room to do damage.

From there, LaVine can carve up defenses from everywhere on the court.

Acquiring Zach LaVine via trade would help

Acquiring Zach LaVine via trade would help open up the floor for a Lakers team that ranks 28th in the league in three-pointers made per game.

Moreover, LaVine is a self-sufficient shot creator as well — a huge upgrade in that regard over Austin Reaves and D’Angelo Russell — which gives the Lakers someone to shoulder a huge offensive burden whenever James is resting.

Even when he’s not at his best for the Chicago Bulls this season, he’s still putting up 21.0 points per night.

Given his room for positive regression (his percentages are down from recent years), and the rejuvenation LaVine will have when playing alongside fellow Klutch clients LeBron James and Anthony Davis that should not be understated, it’s looking possible that the current Bulls guard returns to All-Star form with the Purple and Gold.

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