Lakers Rumors: 5 Things Gilbert Arenas Would Add to LA

Gerard MartinCorrespondent IJanuary 28, 2012

Lakers Rumors: 5 Things Gilbert Arenas Would Add to LA

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    Rumors are flying about Gilbert Arenas joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Arenas' name certainly carries some weight, but what can he actually contribute to the cause?

    According to 82games.com, point guard has been by far the Lakers' worst position, with LA's floor generals delivering a Player Efficiency Rating (PER) 5.7 points worse than their opponents.

    Even if Arenas can't regain his All-Star form, he's absolutely capable of performing better than Steve Blake and Derek Fisher have this season.

A Different Look at Point Guard

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    Part of the problem with the tandem of Steve Blake and Derek Fisher at point guard is that the two are essentially the same player.

    Neither has the ability to consistently penetrate off the dribble, and they've both settled in as catch-and-shoot players. They fit well as complementary pieces, but when the Lakers' jump shots aren't falling, neither is capable of putting their head down and getting to the rim.

    But Gilbert Arenas is.

    According to hoopdata.com, both Blake and Fisher have converted fewer than half of their field goal attempts at the rim.

    Arenas, on the other hand, converted nearly two-thirds of his inside opportunities during his stay in Washington last year.

Fresh Legs

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    In this condensed season, depth is more important than ever. Outside of the creaky-kneed Andrew Bynum, the Lakers are a veteran-driven lineup.

    LA's top five players at point guard, shooting guard and small forward are all at least 31 years old.

    Arenas is no spring chicken himself, but after sitting out the early part of the season, he'll be ready to give full effort every night. He would add another piece to the Lakers' backcourt rotation, taking minutes away from his fellow veterans and keeping the team fresh.

Versatility

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    While Arenas' primary position as a Los Angeles Laker would likely be point guard, he has the flexibility to play both guard spots.

    Kobe Bryant rarely wants to come off the floor, but after 15 years in the league, it's just not smart for him to play 40 minutes every night. Yet, that's exactly what Bryant has done over the Lakers' last 10 games.

    Arenas thrives as the focal point of an offense and would relish the opportunity to play the role of lead scorer when Kobe takes a break.

Scoring

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    Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are great players, but the Lakers have an unhealthy reliance on their top three scorers.

    Those three represent 68 percent of LA's per-game point production. All three of the top scorers average over 16 points per game; no other Laker averages even half that.

    The only team than can succeed with such a heavy weight on three players is the Miami Heat, who coincidentally also get 68 percent of their scoring from their big three.

    If Gilbert Arenas joins the Lakers, he immediately gives them a fourth player capable of pouring in 25-plus points on any given night.

    That forces defenses to game plan for another option, and opens up opportunities for Bryant, Bynum and Gasol.

Salary Cap Relief

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    When the Orlando Magic invoked the NBA's amnesty clause and waived Arenas before the season, they removed his salary from their cap figure but didn't completely wipe it off the books. Even when a player is amnestied, he must still be paid the remainder of money on his contract.

    For Arenas, that means about $62 million is still coming his way.

    With that money coming in, there's no reason that Arenas would need to sign for anything more than the veteran's minimum.

    For a team that has Bryant, Bynum and Gasol locked up for a combined $59 million this season and nearly $64 million next year (according to hoopshype.com), that kind of cap flexibility would be incredibly valuable.