5 New Players Joining the Los Angeles Lakers in 2013
Los Angeles Lakers: 5 New Faces Joining the Team In 2013
In 2013, expect to see a handful of new faces playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. This summer, Mitch Kupchak really turned his focus to finding athletic young players. With Mike D’Antoni’s system, these types of players are vital.
With the loss of Antawn Jamison, Metta World Piece, Earl Clark, Darius Morris, and Devin Ebanks, the Lakers needed depth. Jim Buss along with Kupchak couldn’t do much at first since the entire league was waiting for Dwight Howard's decision. As soon as Howard informed the league of his intentions, the Lakers became very active.
With D’Antoni staying on as head coach, the Lakers front office had to sign players that fit the system. However, even though the Lakers cleared their cap penalties, they are still cash strapped. In a league filled with overpaid players, finding a bargain is a tough business.
What the Lakers need is a solid group of role players who can stretch the floor and provide energy on the defensive end. If you look around the league at championship contenders, you see strong role players who take the pressure off their superstar teammates. That’s something the Lakers rarely have, and at this point in Kobe Bryant's career, he desperately needs that help.
In a year where the Lakers don't have much to lose and expectations will be lowered with the departure of Howard, taking chances on younger players is wise.
Regardless of what happens, the patch-up job Kupchak has done to the roster this offseason to make it at least somewhat respectable has been extremely underrated and intriguing to see as it's developed.
Here are some new faces donning the purple and gold in 2013.
Chris Kaman PF/C
Former All-Star Chris Kaman returns to L.A. but for a different team. Kaman, once a part of the Los Angeles Clippers, joins the Lakers looking for a new start. The Lakers envision Kaman as a big who can stretch the floor and can give the Lakers a good 1-2 punch with Pau Gasol. Kaman is most likely to come off the bench, but don’t be surprised if Mike D’Antoni wants him to start opposite Gasol. Kaman’s best season came in 2009-2010 when he averaged 18.5 points to go along with 9.5 rebounds. The Kaman deal was a very underrated signing, and hopefully it proves to be a great decision.
Elias Harris SF/PF
In Elias Harris’ last season at Gonzaga, he averaged 14.6 points and 7.4 rebounds on 50 percent shooting. For the Lakers’ summer league squad, Harris was equally as impressive. Harris averaged 10.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per contest, helping them win three out of four games. If Harris can provide the toughness and grit he showed at Gonzaga, expect him to be a main contributor in the Lakers’ rotation in 2013. Harris’ ability to play multiple positions gave him an advantage over his summer league teammates, thus earning a spot on the Lakers’ roster in 2013.
Ryan Kelly PF/C
For the Lakers, Kelly is a good fit. Not only does he have a big body but he can spread the floor effectively. In 2012, Kelly shot 42 percent from behind the arc while averaging 12.9 points per game. Within Mike D’Antoni's system, Kelly should be comfortable due to the amount of three point shots taken. Being a captain at Duke his last two years, Kelly will bring leadership experience to the Lakers. The 6-foot-11 forward also ranks 17th in the Duke record books with 96 career blocks.
Wesley Johnson SG/SF
Coming out of Syracuse, Wesley Johnson had very high hopes. Unfortunately, his NBA career so far hasn’t panned out like he and others planned. For Johnson, the Lakers are a very good fit. With his close relations with Kobe Bryant and previous experience with Kurt Rambis, expect Johnson to play with great confidence. Johnson is known for his defensive ability along with his superior athletic attributes. Johnson has a very good chance of starting this upcoming year, but he still must put in the work. Johnson’s best year came in his rookie year averaging nine points to go along with three rebounds. At the young age of 26, expect Johnson to finally make a name for himself in Los Angeles.
Nick Young SG/SF
The biggest name signed by the Lakers was Nick Young. Young is a volume shooter who can go lights out on some occasions and the complete opposite on others. Young is valuable to the Lakers because with Bryant injured they lose a lot of scoring. With Young plugged into the rotation, some of that scoring will be generated by him. His ability to shoot the three is a main reason why he is on the team. D’Antoni’s teams shoot a large amount of the three point shots, so Young should feel right at home. Young’s best year came in 2010 when he averaged 17.4 points per game. With a Lakers team missing their main offensive presence, Young should be able to come in right away and score.
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