By Daron Grandberry on September 1, 2014
Although the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to be a much improved team with the addition of Byron Scott and the return of Kobe Bryant, the current roster still lacks the defensive force that a Scott-led team will command. Here are five available free agents the Lakers should pursue before training camp.
Although his offensive game is rough around the edges, Ekpe Udoh is a good defender and rebounder who should receive a training camp invite. At 6-foot-10, Udoh can play both the center and power forward position, but he hasn't received much time on the floor due to his raw offensive abilities. During his five seasons in the NBA, Udoh has averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes.
Although Chris Singleton hasn't lived up to his college production, the 6-foot-8 small forward is known for his defense on the perimeter. With his long arms and ability to play the passing lanes, Singleton is capable of guarding multiple positions and could be a serviceable defender off the bench for the Lakers. If Wesley Johnson earns the starting small forward position, Singleton could be a serviceable backup alongside Nick Young.
With Jordan Hill starting at the center position the Los Angeles Lakers could use some depth backing him up. Although the Lakers have added depth in the post with the additions of Julius Randle and Carlos Boozer, the back up center position remains up in the air. While he's not your traditional center, B.J. Mullens fits well with the current Lakers forwards because he can step out and hit the perimeter shot and rebound the ball.
With the lack of depth at the small forward position, Chris Douglas-Roberts would be a smart training camp invite. While the Lakers have kept in contact with Michael Beasley, Douglas-Roberts should be another small forward the team is interested in. Beasley may be better offensively, but Douglas-Roberts has the defensive advantage. If the Lakers are going in the defensive direction under Byron Scott they will surely consider Douglas-Roberts.
Despite his injury-prone past, Emeka Okafor should get a training camp look because of his defense and rebounding abilities alone. Although Okafor may be limited offensively, his defense and rebounding could certainly be utilized in Los Angeles alongside scoring forwards Julius Randle and Carlos Boozer. If Okafor can prove he's 100 percent healthy, the Lakers should give him an invite.
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