The Los Angeles Lakers have signed Jay Huff for the second and final two-way roster spot, the team announced Monday. Huff, a 7-1 big man from the University of Virginia, went undrafted this offseason before signing with the Washington Wizards. They let him go after a preseason in which he played sparingly, but the Lakers swooped in to sign him once he became available.
Huff’s best attribute in college was his shot-blocking. He swatted 2.6 shots per game in only 27 minutes last season, taking advantage of that tremendous size to protect the basket, but he also provides a modicum of spacing as well. He made 38.7 percent of the 142 3-pointers he attempted last season, making him a fairly combination of rim protection and shooting that the Lakers likely covet right now. Neither DeAndre Jordan nor Dwight Howard can shoot from behind the arc, but with Russell Westbrook at point guard, shooting at other positions is critical. Once the Lakers lost Marc Gasol, they had none of it at center besides Anthony Davis.
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Still, the fan base likely expected a forward in this slot. The Lakers have only four of them on the main roster, but one, Trevor Ariza, is already injured. Davis and LeBron James can play forward but don’t always function as such within the game. That has created a dire need for more players at the position. The Lakers signed one, former No. 15 overall pick Sekou Doumbouya, to their first two-way slot, but many assumed that preseason standout Chaundee Brown, a 6-5 wing, would nab the other slot.
With their two two-way slots filled, the Lakers are likely done building their roster for the time being. They technically have only 14 players on their NBA roster, meaning they could sign a 15th, but the luxury tax implications of doing so now rather than at the trade deadline through a buyout would be significant. That means that, barring a surprise, the team the Lakers have right now is likely going to be their team for the beginning of the season.