I’m still waiting on our 14th player. Normally I would be on NBA hibernation mode. But with our lack of size on the wing I’m still holding out hope that we can land Ennis. That said I have been thinking of the surprises and disappointments of the off season.
Surprise: Signing Westbrook. While it cost us a couple of core defensive players, I don’t think anyone expected this. It was all about Buddy until it wasn’t. I think it helped that the Wizards wanted to get out from under Westbrook’s massive contract but still I don’t think anyone thought we could land a superstar with what we had to trade. Plus we added 3 2nd round picks which no one saw coming. As far as fit. We lead the NBA in basketball IQ. We will figure it out.
Disappointment: Not landing either Otto Porter Jr or Batum. We could could have used either. Especially they both were signed to minimums. They both had the size that we lack. I understand that Batum probably felt a connection with the Clippers and until Kawai returns he will have a big role. Porter Jr probably saw a bigger role with the Warriors as well. Still either would have been huge.
Surprise. Signing Bazemore for the vet minimum was a very pleasant surprise. After a quality season with the Warriors I thought he was at least a mini mid level player. While Melo, Ariza and Ellington were on about everyone’s free agent radar, signing Bazemore came out of the blue.
Disappointment: Losing Alex. The guy was just a glue guy and one of the best defensive guards in the NBA. He had such an amazing chemistry playing with LeBron. His defense will be missed. He shot over 40% from 3 but didn’t shoot a lot. I think that is more about coaching and our schemes really were not 3 point shooting friendly.
Surprise: Again Out of no where we sign Monk and Nunn two young guys with upside. We also signed them both for under market value. With the age of this roster it’s going to be important having some young legs to throw out there. Nunn especially still has the kind of star upside that I would never thought we could get for 5 mil. He had been projected at the full MLE. And Monk at 22 was probably at least a 5 mil player.
Disappointment: losing Marc and then replacing him with Jordon. Who could have guessed that the Drummond signing would have consequences this year. Marc was the perfect fit for this offense while DJ is a more Dwight lite. I would have felt better if we had landed Boogie instead. But honestly, there has to be some reason for that. Perhaps Boogie didn’t want to come back. Maybe he got upset that we turned to Marc the summer before and not him after spending half a year with the Lakers.
Surprise: Well not really, I kind of expected THT to come back. To maintain a championship level team I think it’s important to develop at least a couple of young players. THT played like a high lottery pick last year and he has the tools, work ethic and desire to be an all star caliber player. At only 20, I think he is a head of schedule. I guess the surprise for me was he didn’t wait for an offer sheet. That could be the Klutch connection but I think it’s more about wanting to stay a Laker. After Westbrook, his development will be the 2nd most interesting story of the season.
Disappointment: Not bringing back Keef. Why we wouldn’t bring back a big mean combo forward when we lack size at the forward is beyond me. Especially after he claimed to want to retire a Laker. The only thing I can think of is he didn’t like his role once we signed Melo. He would not get a lot of minutes. Still it would be nice to have another small ball 5 on the team in case AD goes down.
Surprise: Landing Reeves and Ayayi, two guys that were projected 2nd rounders without a 2nd round pick. Now it’s been said they both turned down being drafted so they could sign with the Lakers but none of the articles explained how they could do that. Is there different rules in the 2nd round. If anyone knows please share because none of the articles explained how it could be done.
I would be interested in hearing other surprises and disappointments.