In an off-season full of changes, the Los Angeles Lakers almost have their 17-man roster filled out. Still in need of a backup point guard, they have multiple options in that area. Whether it be a returning player or a new signing, the Lakers’ point guard options are reasonable. The backup for rookie Lonzo Ball will need to sign a deal worth $4.3 million, at most, and be willing to come off the bench. So, who are these players? Let’s evaluate three options, discussing why they do or don’t fit the team and whether L.A. has a legitimate chance to sign them.
Meeting with the team on Thursday, Derrick Rose is a talented yet risky option for Los Angeles. His injury history is poor, but Rose is a solid player who the Lakers could use in multiple ways. If he is willing to come off the bench, Rose could be Ball’s backup. Rose could potentially mentor Ball, having made three All-Star games and won an MVP. An eight-year NBA veteran, Rose has been there, done that, and got the t-shirt. His experience would be valuable to the Lakers next season and to Ball in the years to come.
Option number two for the Lakers is a 12-year NBA veteran, Deron Williams. Joining the Cavaliers’ title efforts late last season, Williams will be a tough lure for the Lakers. Expected to sign with a championship contender, Williams may not want to join a rebuilding team. Now 33 years old, he can play a similar role to Rose and must be willing to make sacrifices. His veteran leadership and potential to be a mentor would be invaluable to this young Lakers roster.
Williams is likely to sign elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean that the Lakers shouldn’t pursue the three-time NBA All-Star.
The youngest option of the three, Tyler Ennis is a tempting player for the Lakers. He’s young, still just 22 years old. Ennis is used to the system, having played 22 games with the team last season. Plus, he has the most potential out of the three, as the other two are clearly past their primes. Now, Ennis may not be an ideal mentor for Ball, but his contributions can still be useful. A recognizable face in the locker room, Ennis should fit right back in. There are several benefits to re-signing Ennis, leading some to believe that the Lakers may ultimately end up bringing him back.
The downside to Ennis is that he just isn’t as talented as the other two players. If the Lakers choose youth over quality, then Ennis is their guy.
Magic Johnson recently said he would “prefer” an experienced backup point guard, in an interview with ESPN during this year’s NBA Summer League. This is a bad sign for Ennis, but not the end of the world. Seeing as Rose and Williams have other preferred situations, Ennis might just end up with the Lakers again next season.