This is the 20th post in a series focusing on this year’s free-agent class.
Player: Mickael Pietrus
Former team: Boston Celtics
Type of free agent: Unrestricted
Positives: The Lakers have enough spots at small forward, but they could easily switch Pietrus over to shooting guard and reap similar rewards. His length, footwork and athleticism would give the Lakers a much-needed defensive presence to their backup shooting guard position. Even though his 6.9 points on 38.4% shooting last season with Boston approached career-lows, part of that could be attributed to being relegated to a diminished spot on the depth chart with limited looks offensively.
It’s possible that wouldn’t happen as much with the Lakers, who are in dire need of outside shooting. Despite Pietrus’ inconsistency in 2011-12, he still managed to crack double figures in 11 games. Besides, the main concern in the Lakers finding a backup shooting guard involves the need to lower Kobe Bryant’s minutes. Considering Pietrus has averaged 21.5 minutes both as a starter and reserve, he seems more than capable of fulfilling that need.
Negatives: It’s possible Pietrus’ shooting woes will persist. He needed 6.4 shots per game last season to average 6.9 points. Pietrus is prone to having questionable shot selection. He also built a bad reputation for playing selfishly, both by not passing the ball and not putting forth enough effort on defense.
There are also concerns involving persistent knee injuries. With how much the Lakers’ success rests on staying healthy, this is hardly a good investment.
Verdict: Pietrus has plenty of flaws, but so does everyone left on the market. He still can improve the Lakers’ outside shooting and backcourt defense, even if it’s just relative. But this might be unrealistic. Pietrus’ agent, Bill McCandless, told WEEI.com that Pietrus “will not play for the veteran’s minimum, period.” So that pretty much pours cold water on hope Pietrus would come to the Lakers on the cheap. Still, that doesn’t completely erase the possibility. If Pietrus doesn’t field the NBA or overseas offer he feels he deserves, he may have no other choice. Should that situation arise, the Lakers should sign him.
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