The Los Angeles Lakers have not gotten the start that many expected of them. The team is currently 10-10 with a quarter of the season out of the way, and has not been convincing to say the least. LeBron James has not been healthy, nor has Anthony Davis, which is not a surprise. Most importantly, Russell Westbrook has not been a big signing.
Westbrook has averaged 19.9 PPG and 8.7 APG this season, which seems like very strong numbers. But he also averages an average of 4.9 per game and shoots less than 31% from the three-point line. With the way his inefficiency has been highlighted, it is clear that Westbrook has hurt the team.
But what if the Lakers would have gone back in time to go for the goals they originally wanted? More specifically. Los Angeles had a chance to swap for DeMar DeRozan and also Buddy Hield, while presumably kicking themselves to let Alex Caruso go. This is what the Lakers team would look like if they went back in time to correct their out-of-season acquisitions.
Trading package for DeRozan
Kyle Kuzma, Dennis Schroder (Sign and Trade), 2027 First-Round Pick for DeMar DeRozan
The Lakers were interested in DeMar DeRozan and had a chance to go after him last season. They were also in off-season trade negotiations, but once again could not get the deal across the line. DeRozan was fresh on a season averaging 21.6 PPG and barely missed the All-Star Game. This season, DeRozan hits 4th gear as he puts up 26.3 PPG while forming one of the best duos in the league with Zach LaVine.
DeRozan can create his own shot, make his penalty throws and is extremely effective in the clutch. The shooting guard / the little forward is off to the races about 12-7 Chicago Bulls and looks happier than ever to play his game. The Lakers would have been much better off with DeRozan than Russell Westbrook because the former can shoot the three (35.6%) and not turn the ball that much.
DeRozan will be a nightmare to defend at the break and he is a much better scorer along with Anthony Davis than Russell Westbrook. DeRozan does not have to hold the ball for too long and succeeds with the ball while making moves to open. His time with San Antonio has done him wonders because his all-around play is really at the All-Star level this season.
Trading package for Hield
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell for Buddy Hield
Aside from DeMar DeRozan, the player most associated with the Los Angeles Lakers was Buddy Hield. The shooting guard averages 16.8 PPG on 39.6% shooting from three with the Sacramento Kings. Even when playing on a very poor team, Hield shows his worth with only 28.6 MPG on average. With the Lakers, he would have had more playing time and thrives with other stars.
Buddy Hield is not an All-Star player and probably never will be, but he also fits better with the Lakers instead of Russell Westbrook. The shooting guard can place the floor better than anyone else on the Lakers right now and can also defend at a decent level. Los Angeles struggled to pick players like him, such as Kent Bazemore, Wayne Ellington and Malik Monk, but none of those guys are as good as Hield.
Giving up Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell was not easy this offseason, especially when Russell Westbrook did not perform up to par. But losing them to Buddy Hield is much less worse because he would make a killing game alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Lakers starting lineup
Had the Lakers gone back in time and made the right signings, their team would look much better than it does right now. LeBron James dresses as point guard while DeRozan and Hield play alongside him. Either Carmelo Anthony or Dwight Howard can alternate in the ranks when the Lakers get small or big depending on their opponent. It’s a much better option than having Russell Westbrook to control the ball for the majority of the game and also shoot a low percentage from three.
Westbrook is an all-time great player and future Hall of Famer, but his resume screams at inefficiency. The point guard does not fit in well with LeBron and Davis due to his lack of shooting and DeRozan and Hield would have fared better. Not to mention, Caruso would also have been a valuable starter if they decided to play DeRozan as a power forward.
Alex Caruso – 6th mand
Alex Caruso looks like one of the best defenders in the NBA this season with an average of 7.5 PPG and 4.1 APG, while he has 2.2 SPG. He locks players inside every night and plays with unsurpassed bustle. The guard knows his talent limit, but works hard to make an impact at both ends of the floor.
For the Lakers, Caruso was huge for them during the 2020 championship. The guard needed to do no more than hit his open threes, play lockdown defenses and fight for loose balls. In these areas, Caruso is truly an influential player. The Lakers refused to bring him back to the team when the Chicago Bulls offered a $ 40 million contract. If the Lakers go back in time, they offer a similar salary to their best perimeter-defensive player and bring Social Media GOAT back.
Caruso is far from being a meme player because he helps teams win matches. The guard is one of the main reasons the Chicago Bulls have a record of 12-7, which is 3rd in the Eastern Conference. Clearly, Alex Caruso was looking for a big payday, and if the Lakers offered what the Bulls offered, he would be in a purple and gold jersey.
The Lakers would probably do anything to go back in time to correct their mistakes. DeRozan was an All-Star snub last year, while Buddy Hield is one of the best knockdown shooters in the league. None of the players are selfish and can feed other stars, qualities that do not apply to Russell Westbrook. The point guard is a triple-double threat, but is primarily concerned with his stats and playing style.
His style of play worked in Oklahoma City when he was forced to do everything for the team, but it will not work in this case. The point guard needs to be more controlled and less involved, but his poor shooting doesn’t help that way because it is not his strength to spot up for shots. Westbrook have yet to make a deep play-off without Kevin Durant by his side, and the Lakers should have known that.
DeRozan is a flat-out stud who is hungry to prove anything, while Buddy Hield poses with strong numbers as a role player for a bad team. Meanwhile, Caruso is one of the best defenders in the NBA, and the Lakers could have had a chance to solve all of their problems by focusing on multiple players instead of a Hall of Fame star.
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