Free-agent profile: Mario Chalmers
This is the 19th post in a series of profiles analyzing a free agent and how he might fit with the Lakers.
Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers
Type of free agent: restricted
Positives: Chalmers progressed so much with the Miami Heat last season that the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson reported that the organization feels comfortable starting him. It's too presumptuous to believe the Lakers would feel the same way if they acquired Chalmers, but he would immediately fill some needs the Lakers lack. Chalmers, at age 25, made timely three-pointers and jumpers, played pesky defense and thrived on making the big play. Even though Miami ultimately lost in the NBA Finals, Chalmers gave them some needed bench production, including four-of-eight shooting in Miami's Game 3 win over Dallas, keeping the Mavericks' zone defense honest. History has shown that Chalmers excels when he has competition around him, and the Lakers surely have that with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum running most of the offense.
Negatives: Chalmers never manages to play consistently, something that John Krolik pointed out recently in ESPN.com's Heat Index. Consider that his productive NBA Finals showing followed pretty uneven performances through the first three rounds of the playoffs. Chalmers went 13 of 35 in the opening round against the Philadelphia 76ers, went four of 15 from three-point range against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. He played only 90 minutes in five games against the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Lakers already experienced streaky shooting last season with Steve Blake and Shannon Brown, so the last thing they need is another supposedly strong shooter stinking up the joint. Those aren't the only concerns. Chalmers' inconsistency also pointed to the mistakes he made with head-scratching fouls, questionable passes and some puzzling turnovers.
Verdict: The South Florida Sun Sentinel's Ira Winderman noted in a recent chat that he wouldn't be surprised if Miami considered going after a veteran point guard instead of keeping Chalmers as the starter. So it's possible L.A. would have a chance to get him. Still, the Lakers have to be skeptical in pursuing Chalmers because the Heat already extended a qualifying offer, so it could match any offer made to him.
-- Mark Medina
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