The acquisition of Timofey Mozgov by the Los Angeles Lakers in the recent free agency was considered one of the worst signings this offseason. Can Mozgov prove his doubters wrong?
The Los Angeles Lakers headed in the 2016 NBA free agency with the goal of finding a legitimate center. They targeted centers Hassan Whiteside and Al Horford but failed to get an appointment. When free agency hit, everyone was surprised when the Lakers immediately signed Timofey Mozgov to a four-year deal worth $64 million.
Though the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA championship title, Mozgov had a poor performance last season, resulting for some people to question the Lakers’ move. With Luke Walton as their new head coach, there is a belief that he was the one who pushed the Lakers to sign Mozgov.
Being an assistant coach of the Golden State Warriors, Luke Walton has observed Timofey Mozgov enough when they met the Cleveland Cavaliers twice in the finals. Mozgov may only serve as a backup center for Tristan Thompson but there is no doubt that he is a starting caliber.
“When Walton was hired as head coach of the Lakers, the plan was to sign a center who could emulate what Bogut did for the Warriors: A solid, big body performer who would complement the flashier, more athletic players around him.”
“Based on what he saw of Mozgov in the NBA Finals in 2015, Walton probably informed the Lakers’ brass that Mozgov was his man, someone who could play 25 minutes a night, score nine or 10 points on a high percentage shooting from the field and the free throw line, grab seven rebounds, and clog the lane on defense,” Hannah Kulik of Lakers Nation said.
Some people may think that Timofey Mozgov does not fit in the modern NBA. However, the 30-year-old Russian center is flexible under the basket and can finish with both hands. Mozgov also has a good mid-range shot and can occasionally hit three-pointers.
What he needs to improve more this summer is his passing ability. Playing under Luke Walton will make Timofey Mozgov more familiar with the small-ball strategy. If he stays healthy and continues to improve, there is no doubt that he can surpass what Andrew Bogut has done for the Warriors.
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