The Los Angeles Lakers are 0-1.
Overreactions and exaggerations will come just after one game, but one thing is certain: the Lakers need shooting.
In their season-opening loss against the Portland Trail Blazers, the LakeShow shot just 23% on 30 attempts from behind the arc. A common critique of their current roster construction is their lack of shooting, and it’s been suggested that the Lakers find some it somehow, whether it’s via trade or signing.
Two free agent shooters are currently available in Nick Young and Joe Johnson. Either one of these players could help the Lakers on offense, but who would fit in better?
The tweet has since been deleted, but Nick Young seemingly wants Magic Johnson to reach out. Young tweeted “I’m right here” following the Lakers’ loss, and even though Young had a tough year individually in Golden State, a return to the Lakers could be beneficial for both sides.
Young shoots 37.7% from three for his career, which isn’t a great percentage, but he definitely isn’t shy about heaving treys up at high volume. Young’s willingness to shoot can stand out in the Lakers offense, and if anyone can get Swaggy P back to form, it’s LeBron James.
Coming from an ideal situation with the Warriors and having his three-point percentage dip has likely hurt Young’s stock, but there’s a member of the 2018 championship team out on the market still. If the Lakers want the ultimate meme team along with some shooting, Young’s return to LA could happen.
Joe Johnson is 37 years old and not getting any younger.If the Lakers want to get anything out of the 17-year veteran, they should act fast.
Sure, Johnson only shot 27% from behind the three-point line last year but he was slowly being forced out of Utah’s offense with the rise of Donovan Mitchell, and was relegated to mainly sitting on the bench for the Houston Rockets.
Iso Joe shot 41% from three for the Jazz during the 2016-17 season, and so the Lakers should expect Johnson to shoot somewhere between last year’s percentage and his percentage from two years ago. Johnson is good for an off-the-bench spark, while also providing veteran and playoff experience, which could be extremely valuable for the young Lakers.
His shooting has been shoddy as of last season, but bringing an experienced, clutch bucket-getter into the locker room could be smart for the Lakers.
The Verdict: Joe Johnson
Both players virtually shoot the same percentage for their careers, and while Johnson is 4 years older than Young, the former provides more intangibles.
Picking Johnson up wouldn’t be a long-term commitment for the Lakers, as it’s evident that the 7x All-Star has slowed down a bit. But the playoff experience and big shots that Johnson likely still has in him should ultimately inch Iso Joe past Swaggy P for a spot on the new Showtime Lakers.