The Los Angeles Lakers have an unbalanced roster. It is comprised largely of smaller guards and big centers, with the mid-size wing positions sorely lacking. This has been a significant issue defensively for them during their 0-2 start, and without some sort of change, it is an issue that is likely to persist throughout the season. The Lakers brought in veteran wing Maurice Harkless for a free agent workout, per Shams Charania, as they look to bolster their depth.
Harkless, who spent last season with the Sacramento Kings, was traded to the Houston Rockets in the offseason and eventually waived. He has played for six NBA teams, most notably in a lengthy stint with the Portland Trail Blazers. A hefty 6-foot-9 wing, Harkless would fill a missing slot on the team’s depth chart at the very least.
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However, Harkless is available largely due to his inconsistent shooting. He has made just 32 percent of his long-range attempts in the NBA, and the Lakers, who are shooting just 19 of 85 from deep thus far this season, are struggling to space the floor as it is. In Portland, Harkless would frequently play well in the regular season only for defenses to stop guarding him in the playoffs.
In a perfect world, the Lakers would simply re-sign Stanley Johnson, who played well for them last season and is available after the Utah Jazz waived him. However, NBA rules prohibit teams from re-signing players they’ve traded for one year if they have been waived. That has forced the Lakers to look at other options.
Sadly, two-way wings are not exactly common in the modern NBA. Such players are signed for good money the moment they become available. If the Lakers are going to find one, it is going to have to be a diamond in the rough.