The Russell Westbrook era is underway in Los Angeles, and after his first couple of games in a Lakers uniform, Mr. Triple-double accounted for 14 turnovers in 39 minutes. He had 9 in one game alone. Sure, it is only the preseason, and the games and turnovers don’t count, as the future Hall of Famer would attest.
But it’s about more than turnovers with Westbrook. It’s about his style of play and how it can take a stranglehold over a team each time he hurdles wildly toward the basket. Westbrook’s improvisational style works fine on teams just trying to make the playoffs and be relevant. On the big stage, Westbrook’s play has amounted to him becoming the triple-double king, and a myriad of early-round playoff exits since his partnership with Kevin Durant blew up in everyone’s face.
Now Westbrook teams with another king and future HOFer in Lebron James. If anyone can take Westbrook and win a championship, many people feel it’s James. While the tandem of Westbrook and James may be a dream team on NBA 2k, I’m not so sure how this will work in real life. Lakers fans believe it will, but they also thought Lonzo Ball was the next Magic Johnson.
I know we’re only in the preseason, but the regular season is one week away. Westbrook is not going to completely overhaul his game overnight. After all, Russ has averaged more than four turovers per game in his career and having the ball in his hands less should decrease that number. But Russ and Lebron have been practicing together and hanging out ever since the deal for
Westbrook was completed. James is known as one of the great leaders in NBA history, and this will be James’ most significant leadership role yet in year 19.
If James can get Westbrook to simmer down and buy into his role as the third option, the Lakers should contend in the Western Conference this year. Age and health are another issue, but this Lakers squad will have a shot to wreak havoc in the West if healthy.
This Lakers offense needs to go through Anthony Davis if the team envisions a long postseason run this year. We know Lebron will have the ball in his hands along with Westbrook (hopefully less), but the road to victory needs to go through Davis by feeding him the ball early and often. We still haven’t seen the Lakers’ new big three play together yet, though the trio’s debut on the court is supposed to come Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors.
The upcoming NBA season should be another hit, but I’ll be watching these Lakers closely to see just how hard they hit against the rest of the league. Hopefully, for Lakers fans, this experiment doesn’t miss.