Since their failure to sign Dwight Howard to a max contract this offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers have made a number of acquisitions to strengthen their roster for the upcoming 2013-2014 season. So far, their major signings have been journeyman center Chris Kaman and guards Nick Young and Wesley Johnson. Unfortunately, not a single one of these players will have a significant impact on the Lakers this season. Here’s why.
The former Los Angeles Clippers All-Star center has bounced around since he left the Clippers for the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) in 2011 as part of the Chris Paul trade. The oft-injured Kaman hasn’t played a full 82 games since his rookie season in 2004, playing only 66 games last season for the Dallas Mavericks and averaging a paltry 10.5 points per game. There is also the question of how Kaman will team up with Lakers power forward Pau Gasol and fit in coach Mike D’Antoni’s offense. “I don’t know how it’s going to work. I know Coach [Mike] D’Antoni’s offense is a little bit different than most coaches,” Kaman was quoted as saying in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. It sure is, and I’m curious to see how the rather slow and immobile Kaman will fare in Coach D’Antoni’s high tempo offense. This is a poor choice by the Lakers as they settled for a declining center simply to fill the void left by Howard.
There’s not much to like about the Lakers’ decision to replace Metta World Peace (who they amnestied last week) with Philadelphia 76ers guard Nick Young. He’s incapable of playing solid defense for any stretch of time, refuses to pass the ball, and is a glorified ball-hog. Need proof? He has a 42.7 percent career field goal made percentage, well below the league average. In 2012, when he averaged 16.6 points for the Washington Wizards, he did so on 15 shots a game. He also has a career average of 1.0 assists per game. Ouch. For a guard playing around 25 minutes a game, to only average one assist while taking 10-15 shots is pretty dismal. Sure, when Young gets hot, he can drop 30 points easily, but I wouldn’t count on that being a consistent occurrence during his time (which will hopefully be short) wearing the purple and yellow.
Oh boy, another guard. And why not? I mean the Lakers already have Steve Nash, Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Nick Young, and Jordan Farmar, it makes perfect sense to add another who can’t do anything but shoot horrendously. Johnson is a career 40% percent shooter from the field and posts a little more than one assist a game (1.2). He can’t shoot from beyond the arc (32.3 percent last season), yet he feels like he’s entitled to shoot more than three of them a game. He also gets to the line less than once every game (0.7 last season), while playing almost 20 minutes a game. Solid pick-up, Kupchak.
Maybe this is all part of the Lakers front office’s grand plan to tank the season and prepare for the next season’s draft and free agency, but if it isn’t, maybe it’s time for Lakers fans to get a little worried.