The Los Angeles Lakers have been rumored to be exploring a couple of options in an attempt to improve a struggling bench. The two names that have surfaced to this point are Mikael Pietrus and Raja Bell.
Bell seems a natural fit considering he was a former player under coach Mike D’Antoni with the Phoenix Suns. Bell also was courted by the Lakers a couple years ago but opted to snub Los Angeles for Utah. With a buy-out already in the works, the Lakers appear to be in line to take on the aging shooting guard.
The other rumored option, Pietrus, is currently a free agent. Pietrus spent a couple seasons with Dwight Howard in Orlando, and he spent half a season in Phoenix with Steve Nash. According to Yahoo! Sports, the Lakers are exploring both options to bolster the bench.
Both Bell and Pietrus would add experience and talent to the inconsistent Lakers bench. Both players are about the same height, shoot the three-ball effectively, and have a reputation for being good defenders.
Bell is a better shooter from distance with a career 40.6 percent mark. In comparison, Pietrus is a career 35.7 percent shooter from distance. Obviously, Bell has an advantage having played under D’Antoni and alongside Nash for over three seasons. However, Bell is now 36 years old, compared to a 30-year-old Pietrus.
Both players offer similar skills and would be improvements over the likes of Earl Clark and Darius Johnson-Odom, who currently sit at the end of the Lakers' bench. The addition of Bell or Pietrus would likely have an impact on the amount of time Jodie Meeks and Darius Morris see once Nash and Steve Blake return to the team.
Regardless of which player the Lakers ultimately select, the bench would be improved with either Bell or Pietrus.