Point Guard Position Should be Off-Season Focus for the Los Angeles Lakers
Point guard might be the most important position in today’s NBA. Take a look at the best teams in the league, and you’ll see that they all have an above average point guard. The Oklahoma City Thunder have Russell Westbrook. The San Antonio Spurs have Tony Parker. The Los Angeles Clippers are led by Chris Paul. The Miami Heat have Mario Chalmers but when it comes down to it LeBron James runs the offense more times than not, and he’s the best player in the world.
The Los Angeles Lakers have two-time MVP Steve Nash, but at 39 years-old Nash won’t be able to play too much longer. Although Nash typically keeps himself in great shape, the amount of time it took him to recover from a leg injury earlier this season leaves doubt that Nash has too many more years left. There’s a serious chance that Nash may not see the end of the three-year deal the Lakers inked him to via a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Suns last summer.
The Lakers have rarely had a conventional point guard on the roster since the days of Nick Van Exel then an aged Gary Payton to a lesser extent, mostly due to the triangle offense ran by Phil Jackson that brought the Lakers five championships. But times are different. A young, capable point guard can make or break a season, even for a team with Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard on the roster. The only problem is, the Lakers don’t have a young PG they can trust and no first round draft picks to work with.
There are some decent options hitting free agency this summer, but once the Lakers re-sign Howard — and I fully believe they will — there won’t be much cap space left over to pursue the likes of restricted free agents Brandon Jennings or Jeff Teague, so the Lakers should consider some of the second-tier PG free agents and hope one develops quickly under Steve Nash’s tutelage.
Some viable options for the Lakers are Mo Williams, Jose Calderon, Darren Collison, Eric Maynor or Daniel Gibson. Given the Lakers limited resources Maynor or Gibson might be their best bet, at the very least as a stop-gap until the Lakers have cap space in 2014 to really make a play for a full-time starter to replace Nash.