Lakers Star Not Sweating Growing Pains With New Core

Russell Westbrook Lakers

Getty LA Lakers star Russell Westbrook celebrates an and-one during a game against the Memphis Grizzlies

To say that the Los Angeles Lakers‘ first two regular-season contests didn’t meet with fans’ expectations would be an understatement. Even against teams of the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors’ ilk, losses are still losses and 0-2 makes Jack a dull boy.

One person who is making sure not to get too high (even after Sunday’s win over the Memphis Grizzlies) or too low is Lakers star Russell Westbrook. Regardless of what happens on the court, he isn’t sweating the growing pains that come with bringing a litany of stars together on one team.

“It’s a process,” Westbrook said. “Yes, everybody wants us — as much as we do — to win every game, everybody thinks we should win every game. Blah, blah, blah.”

Westbrook then emphasized that the Suns and Warriors have spent a lot of time together. This new Lakers super core is a new deal entirely.

“We’re figuring it out.”

It All Starts With Defense

Russell Westbrook talks about the process of new Lakers teammates figuring each other outSubscribe for the latest Lakers' content: Follow us on Facebook: Follow us on Instagram: Follow us on Twitter: Get the Lakers app:…2021-10-23T22:31:53Z

Westbrook’s zen attitude about getting better could go a long way toward getting his own game back on track. He, more than any of the team’s other stars, has struggled in the early going. Through three games, the former NBA MVP is averaging 12.2 points per contest on just 34.9% shooting and 9.1% from deep.

Still, core chemistry is the top line item with this club, and the star trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook is getting outscored by 7.6 points per 100 possessions so far. Westbrook believes he has a handle on what the team needs to improve, however. And it all begins on the defensive end.

“For us, we just make sure we are constantly communicating on the things we need to do better as a team, figure out how we can defend the way we know how to, understanding it is a new defense for a lot of guys, including myself and figuring out the way to be able to communicate,” he said.

“A lot of those are just miscues on us and we just have to execute it.”

After boasting the league’s best defensive front last season, the Lakers currently rank 21st in the league in D-rating at 112.0.

Russ Is ‘OK’ With Adversity

Things may be running at a suboptimal level currently, but Westbrook isn’t worried about the struggle. For him, it’s just part of the process.

“I’m OK with adversity, honestly,” he said. “I never panic, honestly, throughout a season, especially the start of the season. There’s really no need to, the season’s too long and nobody’s winning nothing right now. Yes, it’s good to get off to a good start, feel good about yourself. But especially me personally, I like to make sure that I’m, as the season goes on, I’m just constantly getting better and better and better, and as the season prolongs, making sure my team and my teammates are getting better as well, we all get comfortable with each other.”

Getting that comfort level could mean the difference between having a successful season or not. But Westbrook is clearly committed to getting there.


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