With a record of 12-12, the Los Angeles Lakers are currently exactly at .500 and the No. 8 seed in the West.
In other words, the Lakers are not as good as fans were hoping they’d be at this point in the season.
There is still plenty of time for Los Angeles to get a lot better, although they might need some outside talent to come in and help them improve.
While LA could possibly get better with the team they have now, here are a couple of young, promising, reliable players they should move heaven and Earth to trade for.
2. Buddy Hield For The Offense
The biggest irony here is that Buddy Hield was this close to becoming a Laker in the summer.
The deal to land Hield was moving forward and seemed like all but signed…until it wasn’t.
With Harrell opt-in, Lakers are able to to move toward completing a deal to acquire Kings guard Buddy Hield for forward Kyle Kuzma and Harrell, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 29, 2021
In the end, Los Angeles decided to pass on Hield and instead put all their eggs in the Russell Westbrook basket, a move that has had undeniably mixed results.
LA really missed a shot at something great with Hield and they would be smart to remedy their mistake as soon as possible.
Hield is typically a very good three-point shooter, something Westbrook is not.
If Hield were on the floor for LA, he could help the team become a danger from beyond the arc, especially if Malik Monk keeps nurturing and enhancing his shots too.
Hield is a young player who is able to perform impressive, spot-on defense too, which the Lakers need now more than ever.
A threat on both sides of the court, Hield could solve a lot of LA’s problems and could be a future face of the franchise.
The thought of Hield to LA is bittersweet for many Lakers fans because the team was so painfully close to having him.
1. Nerlens Noel For The Defense
There is a lot of promise in the New York Knicks’ Nerlens Noel and LA should capitalize on it.
Noel is having a rough season right now but typically he is good for 7.5 points a game with more than six rebounds.
It is also important to note that he currently isn’t given enough time on the floor and could truly become a major defensive powerhouse if he had a team that let him shine.
Two things that the Lakers need are youth and defense and Noel brings both of those.
When you see the sort of defense he brings, like with this play against the Houston Rockets, you can see why he would be such a tremendous benefit to LA.
Nerlens Noel Monster Block Leads to Alec Burks Transition 3 Ball vs. Rockets pic.twitter.com/4bWz1aQ2Ll
— Ron from Owings Mills (@Sprewellfan8) November 27, 2021
The only downsides to Noel are that he can be inconsistent and is becoming injury-prone.
However, with the right staff and team, he could take his game to a whole new level and greatly improve LA’s defensive rating.
Los Angeles could be the place where he nourishes his play style and becomes all the better.
If the Lakers are actually trying to think of the future of the team post-LeBron, they should be focused on Hield and Noel.NEXT: The Lakers May Not Be Title Contenders After All