Los Angeles Lakers: Zach LaVine trade will not help turn the season around

The Los Angeles Lakers should figure out underutilized players first before embarking on trades.
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Lakers should not expect a Zach LaVine trade to turn their season around.

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to lose after winning the inaugural NBA In-Season tournament. Most felt that the purple and gold would get a huge momentum from that triumph but such has not been the case. Overall, Los Angeles has dropped nine of 12 games since beating the Indiana Pacers in the IST championship.

There is no question that on paper, the Lakers have the talent to be the best in the league right now. Regardless, names on the block such as Zach LaVine have been linked to LA – a move that may raise more chaos especially if one considers ball-sharing.

In all, the Lakers’ woes may not be because of the overload that they have. Rather, it is about figuring out who should be on the floor and how long they should be there. An NBA trade could help but getting someone such as LaVine may not stop the bleeding for the franchise.

Darvin Ham can’t figure out how to maximize the Lakers' talent

The Lakers made a lot of good moves since last year’s NBA trade deadline until the offseason. In the summer, they added the likes of Cam Reddish, Christian Wood, Gabe Vincent, and Jaxson Hayes, moves that made them more formidable.

With a lot of talent to go by, all Lakers coach Darvin Ham needs to do is find the right mix to help deliver wins. He has experimented on most of the new faces, all that is except for Vincent.

The 27-year-old has played in only five games this season. He underwent surgery for his knee and there is no assurance that he will still be able to return and be essential to the Lakers for the rest of the season.

However, his absence is hardly felt with guys like Austin Reaves, Jarred Vanderbilt, and D’Angelo Russell around to fill that spot. LeBron James can also play the guard position if needed.

Up front, Ham has continued to rely on Anthony Davis a lot. Reddish and Hayes have been getting their chance on the floor as well to provide support. But what about Wood?

The 28-year-old center-forward has been around and has proven he can be a scoring option if given the chance. He showed that in the last three seasons, someone who can contribute a double-double if given ample time on the floor.

So far this season, the former UNLV Runnin’ Rebel has played in 29 games, averaging 19 minutes on the floor. With the limited time, his production has dipped dramatically to 6.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and an assist.

One thing that Ham may be overlooking is what Wood offers offensively per Forbes contributor Morten Stig Jensen of Forbes. The 6-foot-8 big man can shoot it well from the field, owning a 58.8% clip and shooting it 37.6% from the three-point region. Could the Lakers be overlooking this stat?

The Lakers offense can get a boost from its current players

The Lakers are 24th in the league with an offensive rating of 111.9 despite their talent-laden roster. For a team that has James and Davis, Ham and the coaching thrust may be overlooking what the other young guys can do.

Wood is one of them although others on their current cast have at one point shown their offensive prowess. All these players need is the proper playing time.

LaVine is not the answer for the Lakers

Many feel that the Lakers could address their offensive issues by trading up for someone like LaVine. That would be a pricey move, not to mention a costly one. Getting the Chicago Bulls star via trade would require the Lakers to give up some of their current players. Among those being suggested are Russell and Rui Hachimura.

There is no doubt that LaVine is someone who can spark the offense. But by now, the Lakers should have already learned that the key to success is not limited to 2 or 3 players but getting the most out of everyone on the team.

They tried Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony in the past. That didn’t work out and the Lakers seemed to have learned from that last season when they started investing in young budding players.

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Giving up Russell, Hachimura or any of their young talent would be a step back into that strategy of futility. Ham can find the solution from within – that is if he is even trying.