Coming off a highly dramatic roller coaster of a season where they failed to make the play-in tournament, the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to turn things around quickly in 2023. It would be a grave understatement to say that the Russell Westbrook experiment failed them last year and there’s no certainty that’ll change anytime soon.

With the Lakers failing to find a trade partner for the veteran All-Star guard, it seems they may wind up being stuck with Westbrook for the time being. At the same time, DeMar DeRozan had a career year with the Chicago Bulls and proved a lot of people wrong with his clutch scoring and playmaking all season long.

After a few down seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, DeRozan bounced back in a major way with the Bulls this past year and even found himself in the MVP conversation. It now makes us think that DeRozan could’ve been a game-changing signing for the Lakers back in 2022 NBA free agency. Which in-turn would’ve been a better payoff for them than trading multiple players and draft picks for Westbrook. So with that, let’s now discuss two reasons the Lakers would have been better off signing DeRozan last offseason.

Lakers would be 2023 NBA title favorite with DeMar DeRozan

1) DeMar DeRozan is a selfless team player

For the entirety of his time with the Toronto Raptors, DeRozan was a selfless leader that always had the respect of his teammates. Not only did he knock down a series of big shots, but he was also able to form stellar on-court chemistry with his good friend and fellow All-Star Kyle Lowry. On the Lakers, DeRozan would be a welcome addition and have zero issues co-existing with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

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His ability to play off-ball and be a willing passer would allow James and Davis to wreak all kinds of havoc while allowing him to be a reliable third option for them with the game on the line. On top of that, DeRozan would also be another veteran leader on the Lakers who’d be a respected voice in the huddle and locker room.

2) DeRozan’s game perfectly complements LeBron James and Anthony Davis

DeMar DeRozan’s mastery of the mid-range is something that would really open up more slashing opportunities for James and Davis as well as allow them to space the floor better. It would also give the Lakers a go-to scorer who would come through for them in the clutch. As opposed to another ball-dominant superstar in Russell Westbrook who interferes with James and Davis needing their touches.

There’s no denying that this has caused a ton of overlap in their style of play. Plus DeRozan would also get more open looks playing alongside James and Davis while forming a lethal big 3 and helping LA re-cement their place as a legit Western Conference powerhouse. DeRozan has also proven himself as a legitimate facilitator and playmaker who would’ve lessened the load offensively for James and Davis.

All-in-all, this would’ve been a game-changing signing for the Lakers that could’ve put them back into the playoff mix and even made them a legit threat to win it all again. Granted it wouldn’t have been a sure thing, but DeRozan’s well-rounded game would improve the Lakers in a multitude of ways. Currently trying to bounce back from a chaotic campaign where they failed to make it work with Westbrook, it’s become more obvious with time that making a stronger push for DeRozan was definitely the better play for LA.