Lakers Free Agency Analysis: Futures and Win Total Betting Adjustments
Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images. Pictured (left to right): Rui Hachimura, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves.
The NBA free agency period rages on, but the Lakers’ offseason is already more or less complete. Here's a look at the Lakers' offseason moves thus far and whether they've improved.
- Austin Reaves
- D'Angelo Russell
- Rui Hachimura
- Gabe Vincent
- Taurean Prince
- Jaxson Hayes
- Cam Reddish
- Dennis Schröder
- Troy Brown Jr.
Lost but could re-sign:
- Malik Beasley
- Mo Bamba
- Tristan Thompson
- Wenyen Gabriel
The last time we saw the Lakers, they were getting swept by the Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals. Los Angeles' roster doesn’t look much different now than it did then. The formula remains the same.
For all the talk of how the trade deadline changed everything for the Lakers — unless you ascribe all their success solely to moving Russell Westbrook — there's not much proof it had that big of an impact.
Rui Hachimura was great for the Lakers, and played a pivotal role in getting them past Round 1. Jarred Vanderbilt was excellent in Round 2 as the Warriors never found a way to play his lack of offense off the floor.
But Malik Beasley did not play and D'Angelo Russell was an overall liability.
Here's what they added and how it impacts things:
Gabe Vincent: A capable point guard who can run the offense. For a team looking for stability at that position, especially in the playoffs, Vincent's a great get. He was arguably the best non-star point guard on the market.
Vincent was crucial to the Heat's playoff run. He shot 33.4% in the regular season; that ticked up to 38% in the playoffs. He also was one of the few Heat role players who could pull up and shoot off the pick and roll.
He's an able defender. He's smaller than Dennis Schröder, but more sound. His experience with Bam Adebayo should make him comfortable next to Anthony Davis.
Taurean Prince: This was probably the best signing the Lakers made. Prince, 29, is a versatile forward with high basetball IQ and a solid 3-point shooter (37% for his career). His career high came in 2021, when he shot 40% for the Nets and Cavaliers.
Prince won't provide much else in the box score, but he's 6-foot-7 and can play either forward position defensively and spot up.
The Lakers went with a role-player-by-committee approach last season and look to do so again next season. If Vanderbilt can't be on the floor due to his offense, and Hachimura is undersized, Prince can be the middle point between the two at the other forward spot with LeBron James.
Jaxson Hayes: Supremely athletic and young, Hayes is 6-foot-11 with great rim protection skills. L.A. can play him next to Davis vs. two-big lineups, and he can anchor the bench at center.
Cam Reddish: He's a Klutch client. That's about it. Reddish shot 31% last season and is 32% for his career. If he makes a huge leap, it'll be a home run for the Lakers, but it's best to keep expectations low, even at just 24 years old next season.
Overall Win Adjustment
Trying to figure out where to put the Lakers is a tough task. They were an average team on the whole last season, then were lights out for the month of March when things were messy and the schedule was soft.
Then you have the playoff run where they were impressive, making the conference finals by knocking out the 2-seed and the defending champion.
But there's also the fact that Memphis was a chemistry disaster due to all of the Ja Morant drama. The Grizzlies were also missing two crucial players in the frontcourt (Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke). The Warriors were exhausted and burned out from the seven-game Kings series, had no depth and had nothing left.
The Lakers deserve credit for their run, but trying to figure out where to place them for next season is difficult.
Overall, I bumped the Lakers from a +1.1 on the season (vs. neutral-court average opponent) to +2.5. Their roster changes largely come out as a wash, but with Vincent's stability and Prince's stability taking over non-rotation players, I bumped them to +3, putting them on pace for 49.1 wins.
If the Lakers appear in the win totals market at higher than 50, it'll be a soft under play, and if their number lands in the 47-48 range, it will be a stay away due to the injury risk inherent with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.