The Los Angeles Lakers made a huge free agent signing this offseason when they decided to spend $70M for a player that has not averaged 30 minutes on the floor his entire career.
What should the Lakers and their fans expect from their new starting Center, Timofey Mozgov for the 2016-17 season? The Lakers have a rich tradition when it comes to their men in the middle with Wilt Chamberlin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and you can throw in Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum if you want.
With Mozgov, the Lakers are entering the unknown. Will he put his name among those greats or will we full under the Kwame Brown and Dwight Howard category? Mozgov has potential, even at 30 years old and while he is not a household name he does have Championship experience to offer to the young players.
He may not get you 15 points and 10 rebound per game but that’s not why the Lakers signed him in the first place. The team is in dire need of a rebounder and rim protector. Those are two areas where Mozgov has excelled in his career. The Lakers don’t have the type of defenders the Cavs have had the last two seasons but they are young, willing to learn and are super flexible.
If the team can keep him on the floor for 30+ minutes, expect to see the defensive ranking rise from last year. He does have a nice touch around the basket and 12 points per game is not a stretch but during camp, he must build chemistry with his new teammates.
Mozgov is just as important to this team as D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle. He will be the last leg of defense for the Lakers, and the man that will start many fastbreak opportunities with he shot blocking and rebounding. Not saying that the Lakers playoff hope hinges on the shoulders of Mozgov but he will be a huge factor in whether they make it or not.
At first glance, it would seem the Lakers overpaid for Mozgov but a move had to be made and they acted aggressively. He may not be Shaq but Mozgov is just what the Lakers needed.