The Los Angeles Lakers introduced their three big off-season acquisitions this week as Roy Hibbert, Lou Williams, and Brandon Bass all made their first official appearances as members of the Lakers. While none of the three were the big names the Lakers (and fans) were hoping for, all three should play big roles for the team this season.
Roy Hibbert will immediately step in as the starting center and be the team’s best defensive presence in years. He has spoken about focusing strictly on defense and that will surely be his calling card. Brandon Bass could start or come off the bench, but regardless of his role, he is the perfect insurance policy in case Julius Randle struggles.
Lou Williams will bring the scoring off the bench the Lakers expected from Nick Young last season, but rarely got. With an extremely young backcourt, Williams brings a veteran presence and is also capable of making plays from time to time if need be.
The Lakers didn’t get their top targets, but the players they did bring in will all make an impact this season. The question is, who will have the biggest impact? We asked our panel of experts which of the three Lakers off-season acquisitions will make the biggest impact this season. This is what they had to say:
Kevin Chan (@kevin_cruiser): I think Roy Hibbert will make the biggest impact for the Lakers this season.
It’s pretty clear that the Lakers don’t have a starting caliber center on their roster and Hibbert fills that void. Tarik Black has shown flashes of potential but realistically he’s probably two to three years away from being ready to start. Hibbert can come in immediately and hold down the five spot with his size and skills.
Hibbert is just two years removed from his All-Star campaign and hopefully he can play more like the 2013-14 Hibbert rather than the 2014-15 version. He will have the minutes to prove himself with the Lakers and he should be good for at least ten points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game. His main contributions will be on the defensive end of the floor and hopefully he’ll help shore up the Lakers defense which ranked near the bottom of the league last season.
Furthermore, Hibbert is in a contract year and his stock took a big hit last season. He will be hungry to show the league that he’s still one of the top big men in the league.
Corey Hansford (@TheeCoreyH): I am very happy with all three of the off-season additions the Los Angeles Lakers made. Brandon Bass is a great forward capable of starting or coming off the bench, and Roy Hibbert will be the defensive force the Lakers have long needed.
I am most excited, however, about the addition of Lou Williams and what he will bring to the team.
First and foremost, Williams is an explosive scorer off the bench. He will provide a much-needed scoring boost for the team, and help take the burden off of Kobe Bryant. In fact, it is pretty safe to say he is probably the Lakers’ second-best scoring option.
Just as important, however, is the veteran leadership he will bring to the backcourt. D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson will likely be the starters, but as first and second-year players respectively, expecting consistency from both of them isn’t wise. Williams’ presence, however, takes pressure off of them as he can easily step in when either is struggling that game.
He is a better playmaker than he is given credit for and will fit well with whatever lineup the Lakers choose to trot out on any given night. All three guys will make an impact, but Williams’ will be felt the most in my opinion.
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): All three of the additions the Lakers brought in this summer, along with picks made in the NBA Draft, were solid. Lou Williams will provide even more offensive firepower off the bench and more depth in the backcourt. Los Angeles may have lost Jordan Hill and Ed Davis in free agency, but bringing in Brandon Bass will help lessen the blow while potentially being a better option than both of the players that left a void in the front court.
Although I believe all the moves made are upgrades to the roster, trading for Roy Hibbert is potentially a game-changer. Hibbert provides a kind of defensive presence in the paint that hasn’t been seen since Andrew Bynum was in his prime during his stint in Los Angeles.
Hibbert is among the best rim protectors in the league and that will become apparent immediately at the start of next season. The seven-footer is fully concentrated on being the defensive force in the paint that has been sorely lacking in Los Angeles the last few years.
The veteran center may have suffered a bit of a decline last season with the Indiana Pacers, but he’s clearly motivated to turn over a new leaf with the Lakers. Hibbert has dropped 16 pounds so far and already put in some work with six-time NBA champion Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
A motivated veteran on the last year of his deal in new surroundings could prove to be highly beneficial for the Lakers. Hibbert could be the key to make the storied franchise a defensive force while also helping the squad take a step closer to being back in playoff contention.