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Quin Snyder: On Process, Patience And How An Elite Defense is Built

Talk to Quin Snynder and it becomes clear he’s the right coach for the revitalization of the Utah Jazz.

Ben Dowsett

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“I don’t think people realize how intelligent he is. His basketball IQ is on a different level.” –Paul Millsap, on Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder

The first thing you notice about Quin Snyder in person is his stare. What’s often a piercing glare to a player or referee on the floor is a more refined look in the confines of the press room, but it’s engaging and almost hypnotic nonetheless. He doesn’t make eye contact just for the sake of politeness. This is a man who, in almost every circumstance while on the job, knows more about what you’re saying than you do, but you’d never know it. No thought is too abstract, no question too elementary that Snyder gives it anything less than his full attention. He does the same thing on the basketball court – it’s why the Jazz hired him.

Snyder never speaks in absolutes. His approach to coaching is methodical and highly contextualized, capturing the entire picture while retaining a keen eye for even the minutest detail. You’ve never “failed” in his system – rather you’ve yet to improve, yet to embrace what’s often a painstaking process; you’ve never fully “perfected” anything so much as you’ve progressed to a higher level of functionality.

Snyder’s outlook is born of decades of experience across a wide range of basketball philosophies. He began at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski, developing the mindset of a winner, albeit one able to be so despite ever-changing circumstances. He graduated to the head job at Missouri, where he saw firsthand the whirlwind of hype, success, turbulence and – eventually – even failure. He spent years in the San Antonio Spurs organization as head coach of their D-League affiliate Austin Toros, learning patience and a grounded, logic-based approach from the model franchise in competitive team sports. Stops as an assistant for multiple other NBA teams, plus invaluable time under European legend Ettore Messina, rounded out his influences before arriving in Utah.

His varied experience preceding his first appointment to a top job in the world’s most elite league gave him perspective, not only within himself but with what separates his newest position from those in his past. It’s part of why Snyder’s opinion on what makes the NBA so different likely varies from what most popular consensus would be.

“I think the capacity that the players have to develop and learn, the speed with which they can pick things up,” Snyder told Basketball Insiders in a sit-down interview. “People perceive talent as athleticism and size and strength, [but] a lot of the ‘talent’ that these guys have is their ability to learn quickly. Show them something, they can do it immediately.”

This process is one Snyder set to work on straight away upon his arrival in Utah. In many ways, it mirrored his own road to where he is now – a group of guys who in several cases, just like Quin, are still adjusting to the highest level. The new scheme he brought with him was at times tough to implement as a result, and it presented tactical challenges along with broader themes of approach.

“The biggest [challenge] offensively is spacing,” Snyder said. “When you’re the best player on the floor, sometimes it doesn’t matter where you are as much. People have to kind of react to you. And now you’re in a situation where there’s people with equal or more ability than you on the offensive end, and [you’re figuring] out how you need to space to help them, and also to help yourself to facilitate high percentage offense.”

Unlike a fellow rookie head coach in Golden State’s Steve Kerr, Snyder wasn’t bequeathed MVP-level offensive talent that just needed a few tweaks from a narrow-minded predecessor to fully blossom. He was given the makings of a competent offense personnel-wise, but with so much youth and relative inexperience that a learning curve was a foregone conclusion. But while his team’s accomplishments on this end have been dwarfed this year by those on the defensive side of the ball, it’s easy to forget that Snyder has succeeded in progressing his group along their developmental timetable here as well. The Jazz were the league’s 25th-ranked per-possession offense last season, but came out of the gate this year as roughly a league average squad and have remained one virtually all year long despite multiple injuries to rotation players and some personnel shake-ups midway through the year.

Snyder doesn’t run contrary to public perception all the time, of course – only when it suits his team’s progression. And just like nearly everyone else in this case, he’d prefer to talk about their defense.


“I went into the year wondering how aggressive we were capable of being.”

Snyder had nowhere to go but up defensively. The Jazz were the league’s worst per-possession defense last season, with an ill-fitting scheme and a vast lack of the type of cohesiveness that defines the league’s stingier units. Quin set straight to work, identifying the largest issue immediately.

“I think pick-and-roll defense, for our group [was the biggest hurdle],” Snyder said. “Even the guys that have been here, the scheme is very different, so there’s a learning process that you go through when you’re implementing a defensive system too. And that’s such an important part of defense now in the NBA that it took some time – and not just on the ball.”

This last nugget is vital. The first step in fixing Utah’s sieve-like defense against the league’s most common and effective play type was pushing his young group to the realization that, despite there only being two players directly involved in the action, it takes all five on the court to properly defend it.

“People got to the rim a lot on us,” he said. “We were trying to play pick-and-roll basically two-on-two…and the other guys were watching and clapping, and not clapping a whole lot because it wasn’t very good.”

What he means can be expressed visually. Take a look at where the Jazz were early on in the year, and note in particular where the players not involved in the actual pick-and-roll action are located:

For those who didn’t quite catch it, a couple stills to illustrate the way Utah’s help defenders were consistently a beat or two behind on their rotations, costing the Jazz easy buckets:

As he mentioned, part of the issue was the group’s adjustment to Snyder’s new scheme. Where former Jazz coach Ty Corbin had Utah’s bigs leap out and “hedge” opposing ball-handlers (often leaving the Jazz in a four-on-three against if the handler was able to thread a pass through the trap), Snyder saw a different fit for his personnel – one that depended in part on each player’s individual attributes.

“We do both now – it depends a little bit game to game, it depends on personnel,” he said. “Rudy Gobert is different than Trevor Booker, where Rudy is back more, Trevor’s up because he’s more aggressive. He’s 6’6 and athletic, Rudy’s long and athletic. I think just adjusting to what we have. Dante [Exum] is different in pick-and-roll than Trey [Burke]. So trying to take advantage of some of those various strengths and weaknesses.”

And slowly but surely, his group began to pick up the finer points. Help reads on opposing two-man action became more a matter of instinct and reflex than of a conscious thought process. Compare the following play to those above:

Look at how early Gobert, who isn’t involved in the initial two-man action, recognizes that Burke has dropped behind Zach LaVine by a step and moves to impede his path.

A beat or two is a huge deal, even to someone as lengthy and rangy as Gobert. It’s easy to see how Snyder’s emphasis on off-ball involvement defensively – something his group “spent a lot of time drilling,” he told me – has become ingrained in Utah’s defenders, to the point where easy layups in November have turned into a ball-handler running smack dab into one of the league’s most imposing rim protectors and turning the ball over in his haste to avoid being swatted into the second row.

Another part of this development over time was the layering of complex skills over simpler ones, something Snyder has talked about at length in the past and expanded upon during our sit-down.

“The layers I would probably characterize as situations. We’re basically simulating,” Snyder said, before going into full-on coach-speak. “The easiest example would be sideline pick-and-roll versus middle pick-and-roll, versus Chris Paul and Blake Griffin [running] pick-and-roll in the low post; one-four pick-and-roll versus one-five pick-and-roll. There’s certain players that people specifically will put in pick-and-roll – that happened to us earlier in the year a lot, where people identified a player that they think is not as good defensively and isolate them. So learning how to manage those situations and trying to recreate a specific P&R situation.”

And as his team has seen more and more individual scenarios, they’ve slowly developed into a cohesive, terrifying five-man unit capable of reading and reacting to any opponent action with a combination of precision and force. Utah’s pick-and-roll defense last season was among the worst in the NBA, per Synergy Sports, particularly against roll men in Corbin’s trapping scheme, to whom the Jazz allowed a gross 51.5 percent shooting. They were 27th for per-possession efficiency allowed to roll men, and 26th against pick-and-roll ball-handlers.

This year, with much of the same personnel? They’re 12th against ball-handlers, and third overall versus opposing roll men, cutting that ugly 51.5 percent figure down to 42.1 percent, second only to the Chicago Bulls on the season. Snyder’s scheme has allowed guys like Gobert and Derrick Favors to drop back and cut off easy passes to the cutting dive man. And while Corbin’s system may have been intended to cause more turnovers from the ball-handler by trapping him up high, Snyder’s has actually done a better job of this – the Jazz are forcing a significantly higher percentage of opponent turnovers in pick-and-roll sets while playing a more conservative style, a nod to just how much better the fit is.

The trickle-down has reached other elements of Utah’s defense, of course. Snyder’s theme of layering in skills applies here also; as the Jazz have grown comfortable against more common actions like pick-and-roll, their ability to properly combat other sets and counters has been freed up. With a foundation in place, he can spend time in practice on a nuanced variation or a particularly difficult opposing player without worrying that his group will lose those vital fundamentals.

Nowhere is the evidence of the efficacy of this process more visible than in Utah’s team-wide defensive progression throughout the year. Through November, the Jazz were 28th in per-possession defensive efficiency, ahead of only the hapless Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves. They climbed to 25th for December, then took a big leap to 16th in January as the group truly began to put things together. For February, they were mere decimals behind Milwaukee for the league’s best defense. And since a trade deadline deal sending Enes Kanter – the object of much of the specific opponent targeting Snyder mentioned above – to Oklahoma City, the Jazz have occupied the top spot by a considerable margin. They’re over five points per-100-possessions better than second-place Golden State in that 25-game span, posting a 93.5 figure that would be easily the best over any full season since 1996, the earliest for which NBA.com makes that stat available.

This isn’t all Snyder, of course, something he’d be the first to admit. Gobert’s ascension to among the league’s premier defenders is more than just coaching, as is the resulting effect on Favors and the rest of the team. The Jazz have quietly seen excellent contributions from less heralded wings like Elijah Millsap and Rodney Hood, this on top of rookie Exum wildly outperforming his pre-draft expectations defensively.

At the same time, it’s impossible to view any of these individual developments without giving major credit to the person who allowed it all to be possible. Snyder’s fingerprints are all over each of these cases, from his work with Gobert offensively to ensure the Frenchman can stay on the court for big minutes to his empowering of Hood on both ends of the floor despite a year marred by injuries. The Jazz are among the toasts of the league over the latter half of the season, and there’s no way to frame this conversation without featuring Snyder prominently.

But true to form, he’ll come nowhere close to labeling his team’s season-long progress as a final success. There are still steps to be taken, holes to be filled. He drills his team hard in practice. Perfection isn’t realistic, and mistakes are not only anticipated but almost encouraged; what is expected, however, is that fixable mistakes not be repeated.

In Snyder, the Jazz have their coach for the revitalization of a once-great franchise. Next year will mark the point at which results are expected to match hype – but don’t tell him that. What’s important to Snyder is doing the most possible each day, each practice, each game. If he’s learned one thing in his time throughout the coaching ranks, it’s that process will yield results if the dedicated commitment to it is present from his entire group.

“Just to help them is my job,” he told me as our sit-down finished up. “And just put them in situations where hopefully they can be successful.”

He’s well on his way. No doubt his players see the same thing as those of us laymen fortunate enough to share the room with him: The same engaging look, the idea that no question or concern could ever be too inconsequential. They’d better get used to the occasional death stare, as well – neither those, nor Snyder, is going anywhere anytime soon.

Ben Dowsett is a Deputy Editor and in-depth basketball analyst based in Salt Lake City. He covers the Jazz on a credentialed basis for Basketball Insiders, and has previously appeared in the Sports Illustrated and TrueHoop Networks. He can be found on Twitter at @Ben_Dowsett.

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Mock Drafts

NBA Daily: 60-Pick Mock Draft – 6/18/2019

The 2019 NBA Draft is Thursday and things seem to be taking shape at the top of the draft board. However, the middle of the draft could be wildly unpredictable. Steve Kyler offers up another 60-pick Mock Draft.

Steve Kyler

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The NBA Draft is upon us, and while there still seems to be a lot of things in play in the middle of the draft, the top of the board seems to be settling in on a defined order.

Assuming the top 10 picks stay where they are, the draft could go pretty much as scripted. After the top 10, it seems this could be a wildly unpredictable draft, with what’s shaping up to be a lot of pick movement, especially as certain guys rise or fall.

Here are some of the situation to watch:

The New Orleans Pelicans, fresh off their agreed Anthony Davis trade with the LA Lakers, are still exploring moves that could involve the fourth overall pick. The prevailing thought is if New Orleans can flip the pick for a solid veteran they would, but there has also been recent talk that they would like to try and trade up to grab Duke forward RJ Barrett in front of the Knicks. It doesn’t seem likely that Memphis would do such a deal unless they were assured they would get Murray State’s Ja Morant at four. The Knicks have been pretty locked in on keeping the third pick and have made it clear to local media that they would be happy with either Barrett or Morant, likely killing any traction on a Memphis-Pelicans swap.

The Cleveland Cavaliers had been linked to the Atlanta Hawks in a deal for the fifth overall pick, but traction on that seems to have died off once the Pelicans got control of the fourth pick and seem to have zeroed in on Texas Tech guard Jarrett Culver if they keep the pick. The Hawks have been exploring options on moving one of their middle first round picks, either the 10 or the 17, which they will receive from Brooklyn as part of the pending Allen Crabbe salary dump. League sources doubt the Hawks keep all of their picks, but it’s unclear where those moved picks would land as of today.

Speaking of moved picks, the Boston Celtics have been exploring options on their three first-round picks; it is believed the Celtics will ultimately deal the player they select with the 20th overall pick, although league sources say Boston is open to moving all of them if the return is right.

There could be some teams to watch in terms of trading into the draft; The Houston Rockets have explored deals that would get them into the late lottery, it does not seem like there is traction on anything as of today, but it’s a situation to watch.

The Denver Nuggets have also explored deals to get into the first round, mainly to obtain inexpensive bench players. The Nuggets could be one of the teams to watch for with one of the Celtics or Hawks picks.

With all of that in mind, here is the latest NBA Mock Draft. You can look for the Final Consensus Mock Draft tomorrow.

UPDATED: 6/18 - 4:00pm

Stay tuned to Basketball Insiders for the latest news and rumors surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft and instant reaction pieces on all the picks in the first round.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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NBA

NBA Daily: Admiral Schofield Set On Building His Own Reputation

Admiral Schofield’s mindset carried him throughout his four-year career with the Tennessee Volunteers, and it will continue to take him to new heights in the NBA. Spencer Davies writes.

Spencer Davies

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Admiral Schofield lives for the late-game heroics.

“A lot of people talk about the clutch gene,” the former Tennessee forward told reporters at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago with a grin. “ I don’t think it’s a gene. I just think it comes from a mindset, comes from your preparation and how you approach the game.”

On March 9, 2017, Schofield had an opportunity. With the ninth-seeded Volunteers down by two to the third-seeded Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Tournament, he hoisted a shot for the victory from the left elbow.

To everyone’s dismay, Schofield’s attempt fell short. Tennessee was eliminated and their season was over. Then a sophomore, he and his teammates were scrambling to find somebody to take it. He admittedly was not ready to be in that spot.

That’s when something clicked in his head.

“I think my mindset changed to ‘I will never be in a position where the last shot is decided for me and I won’t make it,’” Schofield said in a farewell video post on Twitter back in March.

“I just want to contribute to winning,” Schofield said at the Combine. “Whether it’s defending for the last shot being on the defensive end, whether it’s taking that corner three or taking that kick-out three or making a play, I’m that guy. I want to be that guy…”

Ever since then, that mentality has stuck with him.

Do a quick Google search on Schofield. Amidst the highlight-reel flashes of athleticism, it’s guaranteed that you’ll find more than a handful of different moments where the fearless 22-year-old stepped up during crunch time.

On December 8 this past year, Schofield led then-seventh-ranked Tennessee to a win over the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs. En route to a career-high 30 points, he caught fire in the second half and knocked down the go-ahead three from the top of the perimeter with 22 seconds left in the game.

The story didn’t change in conference play. A month later with his team up by two on Florida, Schofield went to the right corner and hit a dagger with 41 seconds to play. In a one-point affair vs. Ole Miss later in the season, he took a game-clinching charge.

When the NCAA Tournament came around, Schofield stepped up once again. Tussling in the first round with an upset-minded Colgate squad, he nailed two triples from the same right corner spot with less than two minutes to go. Before getting eliminated in overtime by Purdue in the Sweet 16, he drained a deep three above the break to give the Vols the lead with five minutes left in regulation.

“I mean if you ask guys like Kobe [Bryant], they won’t tell you it’s a clutch gene. It’s just the thousands of shots. It’s another shot that he shot a thousand times,” Schofield said at the Combine.

“It’s the same thing for me. I stay in the gym. I work on my mindset. I work on situational things in the gym and [I’m] always staying ready, staying prepared for the next shot and being prepared for that big shot. And I just feel like in that moment in time, I think I’m the best option.

If you can’t tell by the infectious smile, Schofield is beaming with confidence—and why wouldn’t he be?

When he arrived in Knoxville in 2015, things weren’t great. The coach that recruited him to come to Tennessee, Donnie Tyndall, was fired after his lone underwhelming season for the program. Rick Barnes came in as a replacement and the results were poor in his first couple of seasons, too.

But over the last two years, the Volunteers are 57-15. They’ve appeared in back-to-back March Madness tournaments and won the regular season SEC Championship in 2018. For the first time in school history, they were ranked No. 1 in the country during the month of January. It was the first time they had been the nation’s top team in over a decade.

The turnaround was monumental, and Schofield realizes how big of a piece he was to that puzzle.

“It felt great because, to be honest, I was part of that foundation building that culture,” Schofield said. “And to be on top in the end really is just a testament to the hard work. And everything that we built in those first two years, it really started to pay off in those last few years.

“But to say that I was one of the guys that helped start that is a blessing. We had a great year. We had a great run.”

Transitioning to the next level, Schofield feels as ready as anybody. Under Barnes, he says everything was “pro-structured.” The Vols were constantly pushed. They were always prepared. Perhaps most importantly, everybody was held accountable, which is essential when players are going to be on their own in the pros.

Because of his experiences, Schofield believes in himself. It’s not about him simply sticking around the league. He desires much more than that.

“I think I can contribute to any team or any organization that brings me in, not just with my play,” Schofield said. “But just being a great teammate, being an ambassador for that organization and for that community, really coming in and being a positive influence, having some type of leadership. Not saying I’ll come in and be ‘the guy’ or ‘the leader.’ There’s many ways you can lead.”

In discussing his character, it’s hard not to bring up one of the most selfless moments in his college career. With Tennessee and Iowa knotted up prior to heading into overtime, Schofield—who was one hack away from fouling out—told Barnes to take him out in favor of teammate Kyle Alexander.

Cold from the field and in danger of being disqualified, Schofield made the request knowing Alexander would be a game-changer. It paid off in a victory.

“I’m a winner,” Schofield said after the 83-77 win in extra time. “At the end of the day, if I don’t have to be on the floor to win, that’s fine.”

While there’s plenty of other times he’s put his leadership on display, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more perfect example of Schofield’s team-first outlook. Combine those intangibles with the skill set and you have yourself one hell of a basketball player.

Schofield views himself as a positionless player with the ability to guard two through four or five, switching and slowing down scorers and doing the little things on the defensive end. Within offensive sets, converting on shots from the corner, coming off pin-downs and utilizing dribble hand-offs are his forte. He also has incredible athleticism, whether it’s skying for a huge dunk or swatting an opponent.

NBA teams can clearly see the 40 percent rate from three over the last three years. Still, there’s more than meets the eye to that, according to Schofield.

“[I want to] show ’em that not only can I shoot the ball, I can defend and do multiple things – create a little bit for others and pass the ball well,” Schofield said. “I don’t credit for how well I pass the ball either because I haven’t been in many situations at Tennessee to pass the ball. But I do pass it pretty well.”

Schofield maintains he deserves to be picked in the first round. As one of three draft hopefuls from Tennessee—Grant Williams and Jordan Bone being the others—who hopes to hear his name called Thursday night, that’s what he’s aiming for.

If he gets his wish, Admiral will become the second professional athlete in the Schofield family. His older brother, O’Brien, is an NFL linebacker who was a part of the 2014 Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

“He’s helped me a lot,” Admiral said of his O’Brien. “But more than anything, I’ve just been very observant seeing how he did things, even though it was football. Just got a little taste of that type of spotlight, him being an NFL Champion, playing on the Seahawks.

“Just seeing the process of that, seeing what it takes to win on that level, seeing some of the things that they did—I was able to implement that at the University of Tennessee, but I also I’ll be able to take that with me going forward when I get to the league.”

Individually, there’s always room to get better. You can develop better dribbling, improve your passing or tweak your jumper. But can you make an impact on winning?

Schofield does.

And that’s what will separate him from the rest.

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NBA

NBA Daily: What’s Next For The Lakers?

With Anthony Davis onboard to make them a contender, the Lakers must decide how they will spend their money this summer, write Matt John.

Matt John

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The NBA season ended literally just days ago, and we already may have seen the most significant move made this offseason.

The Los Angeles Lakers went all-in when they traded 95 percent of the farm on Friday for Anthony Davis, pairing him up with LeBron to make up one of the most fearsome duos in the league.

There’s a lot of risk going into this. LeBron will be 35 in December, and Davis doesn’t have a whole lot of playoff success to his name. Many think the Lakers may have overshot their hand when they made this deal. They traded almost all the young talent they had – plus, three picks and two pick swaps is a king’s ransom for a guy on an expiring contract.

Let’s not mince words. LA definitely paid more than they could afford in the long run with this trade, but Anthony Davis is the type of guy you overshoot your hand for. When you have one of the league’s top players in the game, and you have the chance to add another one, you pay the piper.

Now all that remains is what to do with the rest of the roster. All props need to go to Rob Pelinka for creating a title window for the Lakers when the clock was ticking, but let’s not overlook that the roster he constructed last summer turned out to be a complete disaster. It was an intriguing idea to put a bunch of playmakers around LeBron, but the lack of spacing manifested a clogged toilet offense.

Even after adding Anthony Davis and his $25+ million contract, the Lakers will still have plenty of cap room at their arsenal this summer. If getting the Lakers their 17th title is truly his concern, he needs to build the best roster he can around LeBron and AD. In order to do that, the Lakers have two options to go to

Get The Third Star

Now it’s clear as day that this is what the Lakers are hoping for. Shortly after the Davis trade was announced, Marc Stein reported that the team will make Kemba Walker its primary target in free agency.

Having a third star has been LeBron’s MO for every destination he’s gone to since “The Decision.” First, it was Chris Bosh in Miami, and then it was Kevin Love in Cleveland. Neither matched the production that they had with their previous teams before they joined LeBron, but they did give the team an undeniable edge that helped them win a championship.

Getting that third banana takes the pressure off of James and Davis to produce on a nightly basis, and it can help stagger minutes for James who, all things considered, isn’t getting any younger.

Now, Davis can handle a fair amount of the load as James continues to age, but a third star would only make his life easier. As we all know, Davis wasn’t exactly happy that he had to carry much of the scoring burden in the Big Easy, so having someone else pick up the slack would not make it feel like a repeat of what happened with the Pelicans.

Luckily for the Lakers, this summer has one of the best free agent classes of all time. Kevin Durant, who’s still getting the max with or without a healthy Achilles, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Khris Middleton and Walker. Adding one of those names would solidify the Lakers’ odds as the title favorite (if they aren’t already).

The only problem with getting this third star on presumably a maximum contract is that, with all that money invested in James, Davis and Player X, there is little money to spend elsewhere. The only other contracts that can be handed out are the Mid-Level Exception and veteran minimum contracts. This summer, a lot of teams are going to have cap space, and not everyone is going to have that happy ending this offseason.

Because of that, expect lesser players to get paid far more than what they are worth. That’s going to make it difficult for the Lakers to get valued rotation players on veteran’s minimum level contracts.

That’s why it could be better for LA to consider the other option.

Get Reliable Role Players

The Lakers have two of the league’s best players. As long as they stay on the court, LA should be one of the best teams in the league. With the Warriors appearing to disband this summer, the NBA will have some parity for the first time since 2016. Now that the next title may be up for grabs, LeBron and Davis could be enough star power alone to power the Lakers to a title.

Emphasis on star power. Of course, they can’t win a title without any productive players in their rotation. They could get them, but that would probably mean they wouldn’t be able to add a third banana. Then again, maybe that’s not the worst thing in the world.

If we learned anything from the Warriors from the last few weeks, it’s that a lack of depth can really kill you in the Finals. One of the reasons why Toronto won so handily – besides the unfortunate injuries – was because of its full-balanced attack against Golden State. The Warriors may have had the edge in star power, but Marc Gasol, Fred VanVleet, Serge Ibaka and Norm Powell took advantage of the Warriors’ lack of versatility as a team.

You need those types of players to win the championship. No one knows that better than LeBron. Things didn’t start out great in Miami, but after the team added the likes of Shane Battier, Ray Allen and Chris Andersen, the HEAT got that extra push to win a championship.

Ditto for Cleveland. The Cavaliers didn’t have the greatest start when he came back. Then they added JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, Timofey Mozgov and Channing Frye- and that made a huge difference.

Something that we all know by now is that LeBron thrives when he has players who can shoot. The Lakers could bring back some of their designated “shooters” from last season, including Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Mike Muscala and Reggie Bullock, but there are better options this summer

Danny Green, Nikola Mirotic, JJ Redick, Trevor Ariza and Darren Collison to name a few are all guys who can shoot the rock that on paper would be an excellent fit next to LeBron. At the very least, they would help LeBron play the type of basketball that he loves to play in.

The problem is, those guys can’t be asked to do more than what their specialty is. If and when LeBron and Davis are having an off-night, you can’t rely on a sharpshooter to carry the team when it’s down.

There’s always the possibility that the Lakers, even if they don’t sign a star player, believe they have their third banana in Kyle Kuzma. That’s a lot of pressure for a third-year player, but Kuzma has been exceeding expectations since he came into the league. Maybe he’s only scratching the surface of his potential.

There is no wrong answer for the Lakers here. It’s exciting enough that with Davis on board, they now have options this summer. They no longer have to bank on the cavalry coming in the near future because the cavalry has arrived. They’re not a finished product, but they finally have a product on their hands.

All that said, which door do you think the Lakers should choose?

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