At the conclusion of this season, the Lakers will have a number of decisions to make regarding the number of free agents they have on their roster.
This off-season the Lakers signed guys like Nick Young, Xavier Henry, and Wesley Johnson to one year contracts. Couple that with the contracts of guys like Jordan Hill and Jodie Meeks expiring after this season and the Lakers intent on making a big free agent signing this offseason and it’s safe to say that we won’t be seeing a lot of this year’s Lakers back on the team next year.
But with so many players having career years, it’s tough to decide who should stay and who should go. With that being said we asked our panel of experts, which two Lakers role players do you most want to see with the team next season?
This is what they had to say:
Ryan Ward (@Lakers_Examiner): At this point in time, there’s no telling what direction the Los Angeles Lakers are going in after this season. Injuries continue to be problematic and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
Despite another season riddled with injuries, resulting in lowered expectations, the Lakers do have some promising young players that might be able to stick around for the long-term. The two that stand in my opinion are Nick Young and Wesley Johnson. Both are talented players that have played better than expected in their first and potentially last season in Los Angeles.
Young has almost certainly increased his value and may have a lucrative deal coming his way. Swaggy P has emerged as a legitimate Sixth Man of the Year candidate that may and should be in the team’s future plans.
As for Johnson, the defensive-minded forward has struggled with range from time to time, but has shown why he was a former lottery pick. Johnson will have to smooth out his rough edges, but he might have the potential to be a great role player down the road.
Ramneet Singh (@Ramneet24)The Los Angeles Lakers will have a lot of questions to answer this summer as they decide which players they will or will not re-sign. This season, Nick Young has been the team’s best player and he can stay with the Lakers if he likes his current contract. Young has quickly become a fan favorite in Los Angeles and has produced for the Lakers whether starting or coming off the bench.
Young has a player option once this season ends, but, in the past, many in his situation have opted out in search of a better deal. Ramon Sessions, for example, had the opportunity to remain in Los Angeles but the guard became a free agent and the Lakers did not decide to pursue him. Young would certainly be a great player to have on the team, but his future with the Lakers is more in his hands than it is the Lakers’.
The Lakers should also try to make an effort to bring back Jordan Farmar past this season. Although the guard has been injured this season, he has been very effective when on the court. With all the uncertainty surrounding Steve Nash and Steve Blake, the Lakers need to have point guards on the roster. Farmar has improved greatly since his first stint with the Lakers and he will only get better as the years go by.
Suki Thind (@TheRealSuki): I absolutely love the mentality that Steve Blake brings to this team, as well as his level of play, but I don’t see the Lakers viewing him as their starting point guard of the future. I also very much like the way Jodie Meeks has elevated his game this season, but if Kobe goes back to being Kobe, Meeks won’t get a whole lot of time behind the Black Mamba next season. The rest of the role players have all grown on me, and I absolutely love the chemistry, but if I had to pick two players to be Lakers for a while longer, they would have to be Jordan Hill and Nick Young.
Hill has proven that he can be a solid defender, outstanding offensive rebounder, and a player who can bring consistent energy throughout an NBA season. He’s also only 26 years old, so he has room to improve as well. His humble, put-your-head-down-and-work mentality has also made him a fan favorite so far.
Nick Young also gets my vote here as he’s been the Lakers’ most consistent player all season. He’s a player who actually likes to come off the bench, and he thrives in that role. That would be an invaluable complement to have on a team expected to make a big free agent splash this upcoming summer. At 28, Young is in his prime and has a few years left to play at a high level and possibly even improve. He’s shown that he wants to be a Laker, and has bought into everything the team has asked of him.
As I said before, I really like a lot of the players on this team, but if I had to vote for two to remain on the Lakers’ roster for seasons to come, those two would be Jordan Hill and Nick Young.
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