Maybe the Los Angeles Lakers Aren’t Screwed After All

No LaMarcus Aldridge. No DeAndre Jordan. No Greg Monroe.

No problem for the Los Angeles Lakers? Not quite, especially in light of how badly L.A. appeared to botch its first meeting with Aldridge.

To their credit, the Lakers bounced back from those early blows. They secured a second meeting with Aldridge, though to no avail. Once the All-Star forward committed his future to the San Antonio Spurs, the Lakers moved swiftly to strengthen their roster and put themselves in a better position to take small steps forward soon and quantum leaps down the line.

Without a major free agent to soak up their cap space, the Lakers used it instead to absorb the $15.5 million left on Roy Hibbert's deal, the Pacers announced Thursday, per L.A. is sending a second-round pick to Indy in the swap.

That's a pittance for a player of Hibbert's pedigree. Beyond his two All-Star appearances, Hibbert remains one of the league's premier rim protectors. He held opponents to just 42.6 percent shooting at the hoop last season—the fourth-best mark among players who faced at least seven attempts at the rim per game.

The Lakers, on the other hand, allowed their foes to shoot 60.1 percent within five feet of the bucket. Surely, Hibbert's height (7'2"), length and superior grasp of the league's rules regarding verticality will come in handy on a team that finished second-to-last in defensive efficiency in 2014-15 and doesn't figure to feature anyone stingier, outside of Hibbert, next season.

To be sure, Hibbert's decline in the Circle City wasn't without cause. For one, he's proven fairly feeble when it comes to both mental fortitude and offensive efficiency.

In 2013-14, Hibbert practically fell off the map after a fantastic first half of the season. He went from looking like the prohibitive favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year to getting a quick hook from Frank Vogel as Indy sweated out a fi...

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