When the Los Angeles Lakers decided to bring in Luke Walton as their new head coach, he brought with him the vision of an up-tempo, high energy offense with the hopes of entertaining fans, and winning games.
It was for that reason many were surprised to hear the Lakers sign the 7’1, 275-pound Timofey Mozgov to a 4-year, $64 million contract immediately after free agency got underway.
After seeing very little time in this year’s NBA Finals, Mozgov’s mobility has raised questions about his ability to fit with the Lakers’ new-look offense. Head coach Luke Walton joined LA Today with Bill Reiter and Leeann Tweeden on AM 570 to discuss why wanted to sign Mozgov:
“To me, the best way to run is to get stops on defense. And the best way to get stops on defense is to have a big that can anchor that defense down and change shots and block shots, and now we’re out and running.”
Walton was one of the key factors in bringing Mozgov to L.A., as the two talked quite a bit on the phone leading up to the signing. Aside from the obvious defensive presence that Mozgov brings, Walton also feels that he can be a solid contributor on offense as well:
“He also allows us to be able to run half court sets through the post and things of that nature. I was huge on pushing to try to get Mozgov and I’m thrilled that we were able to get that done.”
Despite the NBA slowly developing into a “small-ball” league, there will always be a need for a solid big man. Whether it was Andrew Bogut with the Warriors, Tristan Thompson with the Cavs, or even Steven Adams on the Thunder, the recipe for championship contention consist of having a big on the interior.
Now with the signing of Mozgov, and the drafting of young center Ivica Zubac the Lakers hope to have found their big man of the present and the future.