What happens when you’re the Los Angeles Lakers and you’re strapped with $20 million dollars + in cap room headed into Free Agency? Lou Williams, Brandon Bass, and Roy Hibbert. No sarcasm intended, but it could be worse. This FA class was LOADED with quality players and all of the top-tier guys decided to take their talents away from the bright lights of LA. Don’t get me wrong, these guys aren’t scrubs. These three guys are all solid veteran players who I expect to contribute largely this upcoming season but missing out on names like Lamarcus Aldrige and Deandre Jordan will leave a bitter taste in your mouth, just ask Mark Cuban. Things were looking bright early on when LA seemed to be in contention for every FA under the sun. They had two chances to impress Lamarcus Aldridge, TWO! And somehow they seemed to throw those chances away. Obviously missing out on players of that caliber affect your Off Season grade but what about the guys they did sign? How do they score?
Brandon Bass is coming off a season in Boston where he averaged 10.6 PPG and 4.9 RPG, both slightly above his career average. Even though he has lost a step or two over the last few years, Bass is still a tremendous perimeter defender, one physical enough to play small PFs in the paint. He uses his long frame and wiry limbs to play the passing lanes and make an impact on the defensive side of the ball, something the Lakers have been missing since the departure of Metta World Peace. After 10 years in the league, Bass can pass down knowledge and experience that most guys in their first couple years as a pro die to soak in. Bass gets a B-.
Louis Williams, in my opinion, is one of the most interesting guys in all of the NBA. Unfortunately, that’s not for anything he does on the hardwood, but for him dating a woman, who is currently dating a woman. Yup, re-read that and make sure to praise him for his work. I’m guessing that whole situation might have something to do with his performance during the 2014-2015 season. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year is coming off his best year as a pro, where he averaged almost 16 points per outing. Any team in the NBA would have probably paid him more money to provide that spark of energy to their bench but he felt that he could lessen Kobe Bryant’s workload. He knows his role and he seems to be in the perfect situation to make a run for another Sixth Man of the Year award. Mr. Williams and his two GF’s get a B+.
Last but not least, Roy Hibbert. Just a couple years ago Hibbert and the Pacers were giving Lebron James and the Heat all they could handle in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Between David West and himself, they formed one of the fiercest walls of defense in the NBA. Without Paul George out most of last year with a leg injury, the Pacers didn’t receive too much buzz around ESPN’s airwaves but Hibbert quietly had a nice year. 10.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 1.6 BPG isn’t too shabby for a center whose is considered too slow and old school to be effective in this new NBA. I’ve always been old school when it comes to centers, 7 feet big men who are pushing 300 lbs are never easy to guard. With dominant big men like Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Z-Bo, and Blake Griffin, to name a few, any size in the paint will help slow the game down and grind some wins out. This has potential to be a big steal for LA, for the time being we’ll go with a solid B.
Overall, a B is a fair grade for what LA has done this summer. Of course, bigger names are always expected for the city of Angels but you can’t always have your cake and eat it, too. Only thing missing was another big man to add depth and Mr. Williams two lovely lady friends to sign on and become Laker girls.