The Los Angeles Lakers will have very tough decisions this offseason with regards to upcoming free agents Isaiah Thomas and Julius Randle. Thomas will be unrestricted and Randle will be restricted (meaning the Lakers can match any offer sheet he receives from another team).
Los Angeles has outscored opponents by 20.1 points per 100 possessions when Thomas is on the court with Randle. They’re especially impressive on the pick-and-roll when Thomas is the ballhandler. It’s been a play type that has helped their offense become one of the best in basketball since the All-Star break.
The pick-and-roll is an area where Thomas excelled with the Boston Celtics, averaging 1.04 points per possession last season. Among those with at least 125 possessions, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry was the only player who was more efficient.
Thomas is a particularly good fit for Los Angeles because the team has been the least efficient (0.74 PPP) in the league on pick-and-roll plays run through the ballhandler.
Since the guard joined the Lakers, teammates are shooting 34-of-64 (53.1 percent) after passes from Thomas in the pick-and-roll offense. This ranks No. 8 overall (minimum: 75 possessions) among all players, per Synergy Sports.
Randle is shooting 69-for-109 (63.3 percent) as the roll man in a PnR offense so far this season. Among those with as many opportunities, this trails just Houston’s Clint Capela and Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams.
The forward is particularly dominant when rolling to the left side, shooting 12-for-17 (70.6 percent) so far this season. The only player who has been more accurate (minimum: 20 possessions) has been DeAndre Jordan.
Even though Randle was shooting just 45.6 percent from the field before this season, he is 19-of-35 (54.3 percent) after passes from Thomas since the trade.
As they head toward free agency this offseason, the Lakers certainly have the cap space to re-sign both players.
While some have speculated that Thomas could sign for the mid-level exception with Randle potentially getting a deal closer to $18 million per season, retaining the duo would mean the front office could no longer afford two max contracts.
If they could keep both and still add one max contract, however, it’s certainly an option to consider after watching the two develop as a legitimate threat on the court for the Lakers.