After trading for Anthony Davis this offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking like potential title contenders in the NBA’s Western Conference. But they do have one lingering issue to address: who’s going to play point guard? It’s an important position, and it feels like the Lakers have several options there without a clear-cut answer. So who IS going to play point guard for the Lakers?
Who are the potential point guards on the Lakers’ roster?
Here are the guards currently on the Lakers’ roster: (keep in mind, this is based on the Lakers’ current 20-man roster before final cutdowns when the season begins):
- Marcus Allen
- Avery Bradley
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
- Alex Caruso
- Quinn Cook
- Danny Green
- Talen Horton-Tucker
- Demetrius Jackson
- Zach Norvell Jr.
- Rajon Rondo
Obviously, not all of these players will make it to the final roster. Regardless, no one on this list will remind anyone of John Stockton or Isiah Thomas in their respective primes.
After an offseason in which speculation ran rampant that the Lakers may attempt to deal for Chris Paul after an Oklahoma City Thunder buyout of his massive contract or that they’d sign Kemba Walker. But now, this looks like the crew they’ll be stuck with. Who’s the leader in the clubhouse to get the most starting minutes?
The players most likely to start at point guard for the Lakers
Among the Lakers’ guards, here are the four best options to start:
Rondo is last season’s incumbent. In 2018 he averaged 9.2 points and eight assists per game. While he is the most experienced option, 33-year-old guards tend not to fare that well in the modern NBA. Additionally, he’s a liability on defense. No matter what role the Lakers’ point guard plays in the offense (more on that in a moment), they’ll need to be able to defend the other team’s guards.
Over the last two seasons, Cook found himself coming off the bench for the Golden State Warriors. In 2018, he averaged 6.9 points per game with 2.1 assists per game. At only 26, Cook could still develop into a solid NBA player. He may not be a long-term solution, but he offers fresher legs than Rondo. And with an NBA championship under his belt, he brings a winning pedigree that the non-LeBron James Lakers so desperately need.
Entering his third season, the Texas A&M product may be poised for a breakout season. His points per game climbed from 3.6 during his rookie season to 9.2 in 2018. He also upped his assists from 2.0 per to 3.1. Like Cook, he’s young — only 25 — and could grow into a legitimate option if given time to develop.
This hybrid point guard/shooting guard averaged 16.1 points per game in Memphis last season after years. It’s his first season in L.A., and he’s probably the best candidate based on the Lakers’ situation.
LeBron James will handle most of the Lakers’ point guard duties
The true point guard for the Lakers will likely be LeBron. He may not fit the mold of a stereotypical point guard (there aren’t many floor generals with the ability to dunk from the free-throw line while standing 6’8″), but LeBron has often played the role of offensive facilitator in the past.
He did it in Cleveland when that team was devoid of a prototypical point guard — Kyrie Irving was more of a “shoot-first” player. LeBron’s style of play also lends itself to being a distributor. The Lakers would be crazy not to take advantage of LeBron’s superior floor vision and passing ability.
While the Lakers have a few true point guard options on the roster, expect LeBron to fill the role for the most part while either Bradley or Rondo get the nod as the official point guard. It’s hard to imagine they’d be in better hands than they are with one of the greatest players of all time.