Free agent profile: Arron Afflalo
Arron Afflalo, Denver Nuggets guard
Type of free agent: Restricted
Positives: The Denver Post's Benjamin Hochman considered Afflalo, a former UCLA product, to be the Nuggets' hardest worker by taking pride in defending top players such as Kobe Bryant or Brandon Roy. Picking him up would also help solve the Lakers' dismal three-point shooting, which hovered last season at around 35.2% in the regular season and 28.9% in the postseason. That's because Afflalo finished with a 42.3% mark from downtown in the regular season. The 2010-2011 season proved to be a breakout one for Afflalo, who had marginal effect for the Detroit Pistons in both the 2007-08 season (3.7 points in 12.9 minutes) and the 2008-09 campaign (4.9 points in 16.7 minutes). His numbers from the 2009-2010 season to the 2010-2011 campaign jumped from 8.8 points on 46.5% shooting in 27.1 minutes per game to 12.6 points on 49.8% shooting in 33.7 minutes per game.
Afflalo isn't considered a volume shooter, so don't worry about him trying to force the issue. But should defenses understandably focus on the Lakers' frontline and Bryant, Afflalo will be a dependable option in hitting an open perimeter shot.
"I always thought he's been solid," Bryant said of Afflalo earlier this season. "Even in UCLA, I used to go up there and watch him and Russell [Westbrook] and those guys. I always thought he was a solid basketball player. He can do more offensively than he's allowed to show in that particular group in Denver. But I really like him as a player."
Negatives: Considering that Afflalo isn't known for creating his own shot, it's unsure whether he'd able to find the same niche with the Lakers. He didn't provide the same effectiveness in the Nuggets' first-round matchup against Oklahoma City, shooting only 35.3% from the field and 25% from three-point range. But that could've also been a product of Afflalo's hamstring issues that kept him sidelined for 12 days.
Verdict: Don't get your hopes up, Laker fans. The Denver Post's Hochman reports that Afflalo wants to sign a long-term contract with the Nuggets this summer. That of course shouldn't stop the Lakers from trying to see if they can convince him otherwise.
Photo: The Denver Nuggets' Arron Afflalo tries to pass in front of Oklahoma City Thunder's Thabo Sefolosha of Switzerland during the second half of Game 5 of the Western Conference NBA basketball playoffs in which the Thunder defeated the Nuggets 100-97 in Oklahoma City on April 27. Credit: Steve Sisney/Reuters