One of the great things about fantasy sports is that they can increase involvement in the game. Not only are owners rooting for their favorite teams, but they are also hoping that the guys on their rosters have big performances.
This game-within-the-game brings about another layer of enjoyment, and it’s a big part of why I’m such a proponent of fantasy sports. It’s even better when you have a player on your fantasy team that plays for the real-life team that you support, especially when both are successful.
With that in mind, I thought that this week we would take a look at the best Lakers to own on your fantasy basketball team.
Jordan Clarkson – The 2016-2017 NBA season hasn’t quite gone the way that most expected for Clarkson, who spent last season locked in as the team’s starting shooting guard. New head coach Luke Walton shifted him to the bench, but Clarkson has still played 27.4 minutes per game, which is just enough to stay fantasy relevant. He can score points in a hurry, and his 1.4 threes and 1.3 steals per game can help your team. It would be nice to see his free throw percentage get back over 80 like it was during his first two years in the league, but he won’t kill you with volume there. While he hasn’t lived up to the numbers that were expected out of him, he is still a solid guard for your roster.
Nick Young – No one saw him coming. The resurgence of Swaggy P has been one of the best storylines in the NBA, as he was reportedly on the verge of being waived last summer but has managed to not only prove that he deserves a spot on the team but that he should be a starter. His defensive improvement has been impressive, and his shooting has been phenomenal. He still doesn’t provide much in the way of rebounds, assists, steals, or blocks, but he’s shooting a career-high 46 percent from the field and 86 percent from the line while knocking down 3 three-pointers per game. If you need threes and points without killing your percentage categories, there are few players better (or more fun) than Nick Young.
Lou Williams – Speaking of career-years, scoring wizard Lou Williams has been absolutely on fire this year for the Lakers. He’s thrust himself right back into the Sixth Man of the Year award race with his scoring binges and remarkable ability to get the foul line. He shoots 5.9 free throws per game and hits 86 percent, which makes him one of the best in the league in that category. Lou Will also hits 1.9 threes per game and dishes a respectable 3.1 assists, which is solid for a guy who averages less than 25 minutes per game. In fact, Lou Williams has been so good that he’s currently 35th on ESPN’s Player Rater, which is an incredible feat for a guy who comes off the bench.
D’Angelo Russell – With Kobe Bryant off to retirement, all eyes fell on former second-overall pick Russell to take over as the leader of the Lakers. It hasn’t been an easy transition, but Russell has handled himself admirably, and now appears to be fully recovered from the knee injury that cost him 13 games earlier this season. Russell’s field goal percentage is a bit low at 40 percent, but I expect that to slide up a bit as the season goes on. His ability to contribute in threes, assists, rebounds, and steals gives him perhaps the highest fantasy basketball ceiling of any Laker, and while he may not get there this season, he should see himself going early in drafts in the coming years.
Julius Randle – Out of all of the Lakers that you could potentially roster on your fantasy basketball team, Randle just may be the most fun when he has it going. His combination of speed, strength, and ball handling turns him into something of a human cannonball, flying down the floor and either finishing at the rim or kicking out to open shooters. His rebounds have dropped a bit from last season, but the uptick in shooting percentage from 43 percent to 50 percent more than makes up for it. He also dishes out 3.8 assists per game, which is second-best in the league at his position. He doesn’t block many shots or hit threes, but his ability to contribute just about everywhere else makes Randle an extremely fun fantasy option.