Before the NBA season came to a halt, the Lakers had made two free agent signings to shore up their depth, adding Markieff Morris and Dion Waiters. And now, before they returned, they added J.R. Smith to replace Avery Bradley, who is sitting out of the NBA restart out of concern for the health of his young son.
All things considered, it’s going to be quite a midseason overhaul for a championship contender to undergo before the postseason, but Lakers star Anthony Davis is optimistic that the team can make it work because of what all of his new teammates can bring.
“I think all three of those guys (can help us),” Davis said on a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday.
Morris had gotten to play in eight games for the Lakers before the shutdown, while Waiters was set to play a game for the South Bay Lakers in the G League as he looked to get his conditioning back after barely playing this season before the NBA went on hiatus. During the break, he said he’s been trying to lose weight, and the results are pretty impressive.
Aside from secret quarantine workouts with some members of the team, Smith has only gotten to do individual workouts as the Lakers ramp back up, but Davis said that he can’t wait to start the process of integrating him into the rest of the group when the Lakers get on the plane to Orlando next week. Smith looks set to give the Lakers another reliable floor-spacer, while Morris offers the team a versatile defender and stretch big. Waiters adds a dash of perimeter shot creation that the team didn’t really have outside of LeBron James.
Davis is optimistic about what all of them can bring as the Lakers chase a title.
“Markieff showed that he can be a big part of our team,” Davis said. “Dion and J.R. are obviously going to help us tremendously as well, with J.R.’s ability to shoot, and Dion’s ability to score and play-make. I think it’s going to be beneficial for us going to Orlando, and give us a chance to win.”