So far this offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers have signed big man Jaxson Hayes in order to beef up their depth at the center position. But they need more help at that position, and general manager Rob Pelinka said on Sunday the team is looking to add another 5 to its roster — ideally one who can hit 3-pointers at a decent clip.
“Beyond Hayes, Pelinka said L.A. is ‘actively in the market to add another big,’ and hinted that the Lakers would pursue a player with stretch 5 capabilities,” wrote Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
During the NBA playoffs, the Lakers’ lack of depth at the center spot was evident. When Anthony Davis was resting, they often went with Rui Hachimura, Jarred Vanderbilt or even LeBron James, none of whom are taller than 6-foot-9, at that position.
It left them underequipped to deal with Nikola Jokic, the two-time MVP center of the Denver Nuggets, in the Western Conference Finals, where they got swept.
Hayes is springy and plays with plenty of energy, but he weighs just 220 pounds, which makes it hard to imagine him neutralizing someone such as Jokic one on one.
When Los Angeles won the NBA championship in 2020, it got the job done with a tag-team duo of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard at center. McGee played the role of the athletic center who got easy baskets off lobs and fast breaks, while Howard contributed as more of a physical one-on-one defender.
Interestingly, the team reportedly sees Hayes playing the role Howard had that year, rather than being a clone of McGee.
There have been whispers that the Lakers may end up signing Christian Wood in order to add a 5 who can stretch the floor. At 6-foot-9, Wood is a dependable 3-point shooter, but he has a reputation as lacking on the defensive end.
But if they do end up acquiring that type of 5, it could open up the opportunity for Davis to start at power forward once again, just as he did in the 2019-20 season, at least hypothetically.