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Rob Pelinka Believes Cole Swider Can Become ‘Elite Shooter’

With new head coach Darvin Ham wanting to play a more modern offense predicated around spacing, the Los Angeles Lakers needed to add shooting this offseason.

The Lakers traded into the second round to grab Max Christie, who has the potential to be a starting-caliber 3-and-D wing. But they also reportedly signed undrafted free agent Cole Swider to a two-way contract.

Swider is a sensible add with his combination of size and shooting, two traits that Rob Pelinka revealed made him an easy target in the team’s draft process.

“I think a player like Cole Swider has the ability to stretch the floor and he showed that at Syracuse and he’s 6’9” so I think a player like that can step in and help us on a two-way. So we had identified Cole Swider early in our process and think he’s a great shooter. So that’s a good point as well.”

The Syracuse product projects to be a solid spot-up shooter, but Pelinka outlined how else his shooting can be utilized offensively.

“I think one of the things that Cole Swider did when he came in for his workout is he showed he’s a movement shooter, which is a rare skill,” Pelinka said. “He can really fly off screens and bend the defense. I think he’s not just a stationary catch-and-shoot guy, he’s comfortable moving without the ball, cutting, getting out on the fastbreak and filling the corners as well. So I would put him in the category of a guy that has a chance to become an elite shooter.”

Expectations for an undrafted free agent should always be tempered, but Swider is an interesting prospect considering Los Angeles’ needs. Spacing is a must-have for LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and while it may be unfair to expect Swider to contribute immediately, his long-term fit is worth the gamble and it will be interesting to see whether or not he pans out.

Cole Swider couldn’t say yes to two-way contract fast enough

The talent pool coming into the NBA has never been deeper, meaning undrafted free agents can often be value adds for teams. In Swider’s case, not getting selected wasn’t the end of the world as the Lakers can offer him an opportunity to play sooner rather than later. In fact, when he got the offer for a two-way contract, he admitted he couldn’t say yes faster.

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