(J Alexander Diaz/Los Angeles Lakers)
Latest Laker: Mike Muscala
The Lakers added some more shooting at the trade deadline, bringing in stretch center Mike Muscala.
In exchange for his services, the Lakers sent Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley to the LA Clippers.
Muscala adds a new dimension to the Lakers, as their previous three-man center rotation (JaVale McGee, Tyson Chandler, Zubac) operated strictly within the paint. The 27-year-old is the antithesis of that, as his greatest value comes from his ability to sink from 3-point range.
Muscala is hitting a solid 34.2 percent on 3-pointers, making a career-best 1.4 triples per game. He has been especially adept in pick-and-pop situations — a skill set that the Lakers have mostly lacked this year.
Able to settle in both 3-point and mid-range, Muscala has shot 13-of-23 on pick-and-pops this season. While that may be a small sample size, it has netted him 1.46 points per possession — best in the league among players who have attempted at least 20 pick-and-pop shots.
Muscala’s ability to pop out and reliably hit triples should make him pretty popular among teammates. Forcing opposing bigs to guard him on the perimeter gives his fellow Lakers more space to work with inside the arc.
And Brandon Ingram, in particular, thrived as a playmaker last season largely by feeding Brook Lopez, a similar pick-and-pop player.
At 6-foot-11 and 240 pounds, Muscala is also able to create some offense down low, shooting 61.4 percent in the restricted area.
Philadelphia (which traded him to the Clippers earlier this week) rarely ran plays for him inside, but he was able to scavenge some buckets off cuts and put-backs.
A six-year veteran currently averaging 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds, Muscala joins L.A.’s center rotation as someone who can give his team some different looks.
He and fellow trade deadline acquisition Reggie Bullock will be tasked with adding some shooting to a team currently 27th in 3-point percentage.