Los Angeles Lakers

Ranking potential backup big men candidates for the Lakers

Lakers

Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

With DeMarcus Cousins likely out for the 2019-20 campaign, the Los Angeles Lakers need to shore up their frontcourt. It’s time to rank their best backup big options.

Most assumed the Los Angeles Lakers would be hurting for depth given their salary cap situation and how long they waited around just for Kawhi Leonard to leave them hanging. No one, however, could’ve predicted they’d suffer another wound — literally — in a harmless August gym session.

DeMarcus Cousins’ ACL tear leaves the Lakers sorely lacking in the frontcourt and narrows their margin for error moving forward. Boogie was never meant to be the third member of a Big 3 alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but he represented a safety net of sorts. At his best, he could allow AD to start at his preferred position and provide star-caliber production on the nights when L.A.’s dynamic duo needed rest, and even at his worst, he could serve as a leading scorer and playmaker for the second unit.

Cousins’ injury thrusts JaVale McGee into the starting role thanks to qualms about Davis enduring too much wear and tear as a full-time 5 (even though it’s pretty damn obvious that’s his best position by now). The question now is how a team with championship aspirations and no other proven centers fills this untimely void.

According to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Lakers are leaving no stone unturned in their search, even if most of what they’re surveying is rubble that hasn’t served much of a purpose since 2014. Joakim Noah is fine with double-teams these days, probably because his feet might as well be stuck in gravel. Dwight Howard has been skipped around more than the round, flat pebbles that populate the lakeshore, and Marreese Speights looks like an actual boulder come to life.

Sometimes leaving no stone unturned gets you closer to rock bottom than you’d like.

Even so, these are the best options the Lakers have to choose from, with Marcin Gortat also drawing their attention. The question is, which of the four should they add to the roster, and what pros and cons do each one bring to the table? Here’s a definitive ranking of the four candidates.

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