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Lakers Free Agency: LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love top potential Lakers power forward free agent targets

Despite the impending return of Julius Randle, the Lakers lack depth in their frontcourt. We take a look at some of the best available power forwards that the team could potentially target.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Frontcourt talent is going to be the focus of the Los Angeles Lakers free agency period, and it makes sense. The majority of the best unrestricted free agents are big men, and the Lakers just passed on drafting Jahlil Okafor in favor of D'Angelo Russell. The team relied on a veteran like Carlos Boozer to soak significant minutes last season, but he's one of several players that may never wear a Lakers jersey again. Jordan Hill and Ed Davis are also heading into unrestricted free agency.

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LaMarcus Aldridge has emerged as the player the Lakers are said to be honing in on, but there are several other options on the market this summer. Perhaps Kevin Love makes a move from Cleveland, or maybe his frontcourt mate Tristan Thompson can't work out the kind of money he needs from the Cavaliers -- though LeBron James will probably make sure that goes smoothly.

No matter what, it seems the Lakers are on their way to adding an established big to their rotation. Here are my top-five power forwards available this summer.

5. Tristan Thompson (Restricted)

I don't exactly know if this is a negative towards either player, but Tristan Thompson basically plays as a more high profile Ed Davis. I say that because Thompson shares a lot of similar qualities as the potentially-former Lakers role player: explosive off PnR's, terrific offensive rebounder and solid help defender.

Thompson averaged 1.25 PPP (Points Per Possession) or 67% s the roll man through PnR's, per Synergy Sports, which puts him in the 91st percentile. Thompson averaged 4.5 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes, as he uses sheer energy to make up for his slight 6'8 frame.

Defensively, Thompson has can go out to the perimeter and defend against pick-and-rolls by utilizing his quickness and 7'1 wingspan to stay in front of cutting wings. Those traits lead Thompson to be one of the best pick-and-roll defenders in the league, as he held opponents to average only .68 PPP against him

4. Thaddeus Young (Unrestricted)

Thaddeus Young is an intriguing player as he has the quickness and athleticism to be a solid pick-and-roll forward but lacks one specific thing: a consistent mid-range jumper. While the veteran has shot 38 percent from that range over his career, he hasn't shot better than 32 percent from that range since the '12-13 season. Looking past that, Young is an incredibly quick forward that can motor his way to the basket working both on and off-ball. Through cuts, Young averages 1.29 PPP, which puts him in the 69th percentile.

Young's work on the defensive end is perhaps the best part of his game. While not having a particular position that he's looked at to guard, Young is one of the game's most underrated defenders. A huge part of that reason is based on his work as a ball hawk. With both Minnesota and Brooklyn, Young averaged 1.6 steals per game. That total is the third highest among non-guards behind Nerlens Noel and Paul Millsap

3. Paul Millsap (Unrestricted)

Despite being part of back-to-back All-Star games and a huge part of the Eastern Conference's finest team, Millsap has remained under the radar since his time with Utah. Since that time, Millsap has remained one of the most consistent forwards in the NBA, as his true shooting percentage has remained between 54 percent to 57 percent during his entire career.

it's become more impressive that Millsap has been able to remain that consistent based on how he's added a perimeter jumper to his arsenal over the last few seasons. Last year, Millsap shot 35 percent from beyond the arc on three attempts per game. Alongside that, Millsap's' work from mid-range is at the level of LaMarcus Aldridge, as he averaged 41 percent from just inside the arc during the prior season.

Defensively, Millsap has the ability to defend either small or power forwards, which has led him to be one of the best two-way forwards in the league.

2. Kevin Love (Unrestricted)

After his initial season with the Cavaliers, Kevin Love enters this year's off-season as an enticing target for the Lakers. During his debut season with the Cavs, Love averaged 16.4 points and 9.7 boards (1.9 offensive) per game on a 56 percent true shooting percentage. While those numbers were about the baseline from what we've seen from Love during his career, that solid performance was overshadowed by a rumored strained relationship between him and LeBron James.

Kevin is still arguably one of the best offensive bigs in the league. His phenomenal ability to spread the floor is the main cog behind that attack. Last year with Cleveland, Love shot 36 percent from beyond the arc and 46 percent from between 16 feet to the perimeter. That elite floor spacing ability helps open up some driving lanes.

Like Aldridge, Kevin Love has a bevy of solid post-up moves, which has also allowed him to be one of the finest inside players in the NBA. Inside the low-post, Love averaged .98 points per possession. That trait, combined with his work as an offensive rebounder (1.9 offensive boards per game), has allowed him to shoot 59 percent from inside the restricted area.

While Love is around the same level offensively as Aldridge, he trails the former Blazers based around his struggles on the defensive end. In the current era that values frontcourt players that defend wings through switches or straight-up assignments, having somebody like Love that's unable to do that can be worrisome. On a team that doesn't have a great inside presence, spending max money on somebody like Love that's not a plus defender might be daunting.

1. LaMarcus Aldridge (Unrestricted)

Perhaps the biggest target in this year's free agency, Aldridge enters as an unrestricted target that's likely putting his time with the Trail Blazers behind him. With that news in mind, the Lakers are reportedly ready to throw a four-year, $80 million deal at Aldridge once the calendar turns to July.

For the last five years, LaMarcus has been looked at as one of the most versatile offensive bigs in the NBA. Since being named to his first NBA All-Star game during the '11-12 season, Aldridge has averaged 22.4 points and 9.7 rebounds (2.7 offensive) on a 52.9 percent true shooting percentage

The basis behind Aldridge's offensive dominance rests behind his versatility on the offensive end. That versatility lies behind Aldridge having a cornucopia of ways that he can score:  A jumper that can spread out to the perimeter, ability to take control of the ball and cut to the rim, and a plethora of post-up moves.

Since debuting in the league during the '07-08 season, Aldridge's mid-range jumper has been downright deadly. From that time until now, Aldridge has shot at least 39 percent from between 16' to the three-point line. That level of efficiency was multiplied by the All-Star forward adding a perimeter jumper to his game during the prior season. On 1.5 attempts per game, Aldridge shot 35 percent from beyond the arc, which is a very good percentage when you consider that he just implemented that into his offensive repertoire.

Aldridge is also one of the best post-up players in the league, as he averages .96 points per possession or 46 percent from the low-post. LaMarcus shows off a bevy of moves including a drop-step, hook shot from the left block and a turnaround fadeaway. He also has an innate ability to quickly get into post-up position whether he's working up in the high-post or down by the restricted area.

While Aldridge has never been a standout defensive force, he's solid enough to where he'd immediately be the team's best frontcourt defender. With his 7'4 wingspan, Aldridge is capable of going out to the perimeter or containing cutting wings. That trait has led to opponents averaging 40 percent from inside the paint, which is about 6 percent less than league average.

Although Aldridge will turn 30 in the offseason, he still stands as the best player that the Lakers can realistically pursue in free agency. That offensively versatility would allow Aldridge to be an amazing compliment to Russell, as the potential that the duo can have in pick-and-rolls would be fantastic. LaMarcus' ability on defense will allow Randle to slowly grow and get accustomed to the pace of the NBA without putting too much pressure on the young forward.

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