The Lakers are in dire need of finding another big man to replace the injured DeMarcus Cousins. With the latest reports indicating they plan to work out Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, and Marreese Speights – Speights is a name that not many expected to be on the list. Out of the NBA last season and playing in China, Speights had a strong season averaging 22.7 points per game while shooting an effective 35.7% from deep.
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Mo Speights Offers Lakers a Unique Fit
Despite not playing in the NBA last season, Speights brings a unique skill set to the table that isn’t overly prevalent on the free-agent market – especially with the other players the Lakers are planning to work out. Able to step out behind the three-point line and stretch the defense, Speights offers the Lakers extremely valuable floor spacing and should be able to offer a watered-down version of what DeMarcus Cousins was expected to bring to the table.
While he isn’t the rebounder or defender that Joakim Noah and Dwight Howard may be, Speights’ offensive versatility should go a long ways towards getting him a realistic look with the Lakers. Barring injury, Speights wouldn’t be expected to play heavy minutes and would likely fall somewhere in the 15-20 minutes per game range. While he’s getting older, the limited workload should help keep Speights fresh over the course of a grueling 82 game season.
While Speights is far from an attractive pick-up, the Lakers could do much worse than adding another floor-spacing stretch option to their offensive arsenal.
Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma Fighting for Final USA Basketball Roster Spot
While the Lakers hunt for a replacement big man, their young emerging star Kyle Kuzma looks to be fighting for the final roster spot on USA Basketball’s FIBA World Cup squad. With 13 players left fighting for 12 spots, Kuzma seems to be in a strong position to make the team and see some real minutes. Overhauling his shooting form and making some noticeable strides on defense, Kuzma seems to be a much more well-rounded player from the small USA Basketball sample size.
With Kemba Walker entrenched as the stater at point guard and Marcus Smart seemingly slotted in alongside him, the backcourt rotation seems mostly set with Derrick White, Joe Harris, and Donovan Mitchell coming off the bench. Depth on the wing is crucial so don’t expect Popovich to trim the fat at forward. Instead, it seems most likely that head coach Gregg Popovich will cut ties with one of his three centers – Myles Turner, Brook Lopez, and Mason Plumlee. Lopez’s veteran leadership, rim protection, and three-point shooting make him likely a lock to make the team so it seems the decision will likely come down to either keeping Turner or Plumlee.
With play set to kick off on September 1st, the clock is ticking for Popovich to make his final decision, though likely that won’t come until after at least a few of the exhibition games the Lakers are scheduled to play in this week.