Last season, the backbone of the Los Angeles Lakers’ success was their defense. With the moves they’ve made the past few days, it’s clear they are looking to add more offensive firepower while trying to hold on to their defense identity.
Before the draft, the Lakers flipped Danny Green and the 28th pick to Oklahoma City for Dennis Schroder. Then they signed free agent Wesley Matthews on a one-year, $3.6 million deal. They also shocked the NBA world when they convinced Montrezl Harrell to make the hallway switch for two years, $19 million with a player option.
During the regular season this past year, the Lakers offense would fall off a cliff anytime LeBron James went to the bench; their offensive rating was 112.1 with him on the court and 105.2 with him off. A few days into the offseason, they addressed those needs by adding the Sixth Man of the Year, the runner-up and a three-and-D wing.
How might things look in L.A. during the upcoming season?
Making this trade means the Lakers do not expect Rajon Rondo to return after he opted out of his contract. His play in the bubble after returning from a broken thumb was outstanding, as besides being the lead ball-handler on the second unit, he showed the value of having another playmaker on the court with James.
Even though Green was sent to Oklahoma City for Schroder, it was a move to preemptively fill the void of losing Rondo.
Schroder had a great regular season coming off the bench for the Thunder and being part of their three-guard closing lineup, where he averaged 18.9 points per game and shot a career high from the field (46.9 percent) and three (38.5 percent). This past season, he shot 41.4 percent on catch-and-shoot threes on 3.6 attempts. Rondo, meanwhile, shot 39.3 percent on catch-and-shoot threes on only 1.3 attempts.
Schroder is slightly more efficient in pick-and-rolls. According to Synergy Sports Technology, he had a better points-per-possession mark in pick-and-rolls than Rondo this past year (0.912 vs. 0.901). And that’s without having a pick-and-roll partner as good as Anthony Davis.
One more big bonus of this trade: the Lakers get younger. Schroder is 27 and beginning to enter his prime. With several of their draft picks heading to New Orleans via the Davis trade, this is one of the few chances they have to get a young player who is more in line with Davis’ timeline.
Losing Green in the Schroder trade created a need for a three-and-D wing, and that is where the Matthews signing comes in after he opted out of a $2.7 million deal in Milwaukee.
With Green slated to make $15.4 million in the last year of his deal, this is a value pickup for the Lakers. Both Green and Matthews are valuable catch-and-shoot players with the ability to defend on the perimeter, and they put up similar numbers as well, per NBA.com: Read from source….