The Los Angeles Lakers have started the season off phenomenally, boasting the first seed in the Western Conference with a 28-7 record. Over the past few weeks, glaring weaknesses have started to show up on the roster, mainly regarding playmaking. Without star forward LeBron James on the court, the Lakers need playmakers. Veteran guard Rajon Rondo just does not have the same abilities he once did. The Lakers have been eyeing several veteran guards to help boost the team’s playmaking abilities. One is D.J. Augustin of the Orlando Magic. Another is previously retired Darren Collison, who’s preferred destination is either with the Lakers, or the cross-town rival, the Los Angeles Clippers.
Los Angeles Lakers’ Next Step
Los Angeles Lakers Frontrunners for Collison
The Lakers are eyeing playmakers, and are in desperate need of another point guard to back up James. Although the Lakers have guards such as Rondo and Quinn Cook on their team, they have nowhere near the amount of potential production as Collison can offer. Collison had a career year last year, averaging a career-high six assists per game. Collison also tallied 11.2 points per game, while shooting 40.7 percent from three-point range for the Indiana Pacers.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are frontrunners for landing Collison if he decides to make a return to the NBA.
Story filed to ESPN: After a stunning retirement prior to free agency, veteran guard Darren Collison is considering a February return to the NBA – with the Lakers and Clippers emerging as his two preferred destinations.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 1, 2020
If Collison does make a return, he reportedly plans to do so in February, right around All-Star weekend and the trade deadline. Smart move for Collison, securing a position on a playoff team. If the Lakers can grab Collison before the Clippers make their moves, their playmaking woes could be saved.
The Los Angeles Lakers Need to Act Quickly
The Lakers eyeing playmakers should be no surprise to those who watch their games, as the ball movement is frustrating when James is on the bench. Not only has the primary bench playmaker, Rondo, not been producing offensively, but he’s also suffered a severe decline with his defensive production.
“The Lakers need another playmaking guard. Rondo’s not what he used to be. The ball sticks with him, and he doesn’t defend anymore,” one Eastern Conference executive said, echoing an opinion held by many execs in attendance at December’s G League Showcase. “They need another point guard to help LeBron. If they’re going to make a trade, that’s what they need to target,” said NBA executives, according to Bleacher Report.
If Collison doesn’t end up working out, the Lakers still have other options. They have been eyeing several NBA veteran guards to help out with their playmaking issues. One name that has come up is the Orlando Magic’s, DJ Augustin. Although Augustin has taken a backseat with the Magic in the wake of Markelle Fultz‘s outbreak, he still is a viable option. Augustin is a career 38 percent three-point shooter. He makes sense for the Lakers, as he is in the last year of his contract and both parties would like to compete for a championship.
The Lakers will most likely have a top seed in the Western Conference, regardless of getting a backup playmaker or not. However, if they do not end up getting what they need, it will be a tough road in the playoffs against teams such as the Clippers and the Houston Rockets. The Lakers have been playing phenomenally well to start the season, but their playmaking woes have raised major concerns throughout the NBA universe.
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