March 16, 2012

Did the Deadline Trades Make the Lakers Better?

So much for standing pat.

I know what you're thinking Laker Faithful: Did the NBA trade deadline deals make the team better? I see the trades as a mixed bag of positives and negatives.

On one hand, the perennial problem of weak point guard play has been addressed: Ramon Sessions was nabbed by the Los Angeles Lakers, along with Christian Ayenga, for Luke Walton and a draft pick. This is clearly a short to medium term solution to help the franchise get its 17th championship (and Kobe Bryant's sixth ring).

Sessions brings good pick and roll skills, good ball-handling, and aggressive forays into the hoop that can break down defenses. Ayenga is still raw but superb athlete, which is quite similar to where Devin Ebanks is. It's no accident that Ayenga will be sent to the D-League (where Ebanks spent some time early in the season).

From a financial point of view, the deal is good because the team was able to shed Walton's albatross of a contract. Perhaps this is Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert's way of saying "mea culpa" to the Lakers after nixing the deal that would have sent Chris Paul to the Lakers?

But the deadline didn't come without a price: Lakers fan favorite Derek Fisher was sent to the Houston Rockets for Jordan Hill.

This feels like an end of an era because Walton and Fisher were part of the Lakers' success in the past decade. Fisher's legacy in the Lakers lore is pretty much set, but I hoped he would finish his career in purple and gold.

With the deals, the Lakers' depth chart looks like this:
  • PG - Ramon Sessions, Steve Blake, Darius Morris
  • SG - Kobe Bryant, Andrew Goudelock
  • SF - Metta World Peace, Matt Barnes, Devin Ebanks, Christian Ayenga
  • PF - Pau Gasol, Troy Murphy, Josh McRoberts
  • C - Andrew Bynum, Jordan Hill
If you ask me, the only problematic area left is the Small Forward position. I guess Michael Beasly would have helped there.

But that's a different story.

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