Cleat Geeks

Lakeshow Weekly: Things We Learned This Season In The NBA (Part 1)

Photo by: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Perimeter defenders are at a premium. Remember the days when Shane Battier would give Kobe fits? When Bruce Bowen was shutting down the opponent’s best player? There aren’t many elite defenders left. Steph Curry runs circles around defenders (poor CP3) and then steps back for an easy bucket. The NBA is shooting 3’s like they’re going out of style and Mark Cuban suggested we move the 3 point line back (seriously?).

Now more than ever, having a premium defender on your team makes you tough to deal with. Facing this new phenomenon of shooters that has swept across the NBA is becoming every coach’s nightmare. Some of the best teams in the NBA have premiere defenders on their squad. The Warriors are not what they are without Draymond Green. The Spurs don’t have the success they have experienced without Kawhi Leonard. Avery Bradley is a huge part of the resurgence of the Celtics. The Rockets and Clippers…..are a mess, moving on. All this to say, most of the teams that hope to advance in the playoffs, have at least one player who plays solid defense.

Take note, I did say teams that hope to advance, not all teams who are going to make the play-offs. How does this apply to the Lakers? We don’t have that at all right now. We have hustle and talent and what I believe to be promising young pieces, but we don’t have a talented defender. Although I think Swaggy P is transforming into a defensive threat, I don’t think he will be enough (I’m just kidding). So where to look?

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

With the draft fast approaching as well as free agency, there are several options available to us. These names are not the big free agent signings most Lakers fans are hoping for, but defensive guys who can help fulfill some of the Lakers needs. One such name available is Nicolas Batum. At 27 years old, he is playing the best basketball of his career this year. Along with 15 points per game 6 assists and 6 rebounds, opponents are only shooting 38% from the field when guarded by him (according to Batum should be a reasonably priced option with 3 point shooting ability.

Another free agent option available to the Lakers is Arron Afflalo who has established him himself as a solid defender through his career. Afflalo’s strengths on the defensive end can’t be seen statistically, but if you watch his game, he has proven time and time again to be a high energy defensive player. Afflalo has a player option this year and is originally from Los Angeles. He could be another reasonably priced veteran option to add to a young Lakers squad.arron-afflalo

In the draft, Ingram has the all the things you want for a defender but can he take that next step to transform his game into an all around player. With his height (6’9) and wingspan (7’3) he has the physical tools you want in a defender, though sometimes not fundamentally sound. He has averaged 1.1 steals per game and 1.4 blocks per game this season at Duke. One thing is for sure the Lakers need to take notice of the changes happening through the NBA. The NBA is not the same game it once was but I guarantee you this, scoring a premier defender is key to success.

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