Signing Back-Ups: Good for Clippers, Disaster for Lakers

I’ve written before about what a great job the Clippers have done in signing key backups this free-agent season. Now, the Lakers have also gone after a few backup players, in one deal and in re-signing players from last season’s roster. Unfortunately, while the Clippers have a star-studded group of starters and the right subs can mean a longer playoff season and maybe even a title, the Lakers have a single top line starter (who will be attempting to come back from two major injuries) and rather than obtain starting-caliber players, have only managed to sign second-tier backups who do not figure to impact the starting rotation or actually contribute much to winning games.

The lone veteran newcomer, so far, is Jeremy Lin, and while he does figure to get a fair amount of playing time, he is no improvement over Jordan Farmar, who he will be

replacing on the roster. Lin, like Farmar, missed some games last season due to injury, though not as many as Farmar, so if he stays healthy, he will get more playing time, but he does not figure to be an improvement.

The other two veteran signings are re-signings of players from last year's super-disappointing team, Jordan Hill and Nick Young. This translates to even more status quo with no improvement. Hill is a valuable back-up at power
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forward, and with Pau Gasol now gone and rookie Julius Randle and second year man Ryan Kelly all vying for playing time, if he is to increase his lifetime 16 minutes/game average playing time, it will be as an undersized center, behind the one and only true big man currently on the roster, Robert Sacre.

And then there is Young, the one-dimensional trojan brain surgeon who will be now be stealing Lakers’ money for the next four years. This is truly an act of desperation on the part of the team, locking up long term a guy that can go on streaks and put in points that, though headline-grabbing, can never, ever, make up for his total lack of any ability to do anything else on the basketball court – he is a disaster on defense and he refuses to ever pass the ball, giving up his RIGHT TO SHOOT for something as irrelevant like the good of

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the team and a chance to win a game. Over his eight year career, playing exactly one-half the minutes of 48-minute games, he has averaged almost exactly one assist per game. He actually set his career high last season, averaging one-and-one-half assists per game. This signing was a major mistake and Lakers' management will live to regret it. $21.5 million for this jerk? You have GOT to be kidding! Did I mention that
he cannot rebound, either?

Last off season, I liked what the Lakers had done, and if players had stayed healthy, they absolutely would have made the playoffs. But, the way this year’s team is shaping up, I see an even bigger disaster on the horizon. They wasted effort and let decent players slip by on their ridiculous quest for Carmelo Anthony, with the stupid belief that signing him would lure LeBron James to them as well.

I’ve given management some benefit of the doubt over the last year-plus, but this off season, and with some of their moves, and their non-moves, this is a team that, unless Kobe Bryant has a full recovery and lifts everyone else on his back and can win games single-handedly, that has last place etched in stone.

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