The Los Angeles Lakers made a massive blockbuster trade during the offseason to acquire point guard Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards. Prior to the move, it appeared that L.A. would be landing Buddy Hield from the Sacramento Kings, but LeBron James wanted the Lakers to go out and get Westbrook.
Since the move, there has been a lot of speculation about the fit of Westbrook with the Lakers. With James and Anthony Davis already on the roster, many believed that the fit would be tough. All three players like having the basketball in their hands and all of them like to create their own looks.
Well, so far, the returns have not been great for the Lakers. They have gone 0-5 in preseason action and Westbrook has been struggling. Granted, these are just preseason games, but it has brought to question what will happen if the Lakers don’t get things turned around quickly in the regular season.
One NBA executive spoke to NBA Analysis Network about the Lakers’ future. He believes that Los Angeles could look to trade Westbrook sooner rather than later if the “Big Three” can’t figure things out.
“Absolutely. I believe the Lakers would look to cut their losses if they don’t get going in the first month or two of the season. By that, I mean that (Russell) Westbrook could find himself on the move before the deadline if he doesn’t mesh well.”
So far during preseason play, Westbrook has averaged just 6.7 points per game to go along with 6.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He has shot just 25 percent from the floor. Those numbers are concerning, to say the least.
James did take some time to speak out on Westbrook’s play so far, and it is clear that he isn’t worried about it.
“I care more about the practice court than I care about the preseason games,” said LeBron James. “I’m not gonna learn anything from the preseason at this point in my career. Nothing. Zero.”
With all of that being said, the Lakers do need to start figuring things out in real games. Exhibition games may not count in the grand scheme of things, but they are still important. A team can look great in practice, while looking bad against real competition.
Russell Westbrook is a talented individual player, but he has never been in a situation like he is with the Lakers. He will need to change his game to fit alongside James and Davis. Whether or not he can do that could decide his future, much sooner than he might realize.
Expect to continue seeing the Lakers placed under a microscope the rest of the preseason and to begin the regular season. They have an aging roster and a superstar he isn’t fitting in. It could be an entertaining early season for L.A. off the court.