The Russell Westbrook era for the Los Angeles Lakers hasn’t exactly gotten off to the best start. The team is 2-3 and coming off a loss to one of the worst teams in the NBA in the Oklahoma City Thunder. When the Lakers traded for Westbrook, many questioned his fit with the team. So far, the fit hasn’t looked great.
Westbrook is a ball-dominant guard who can’t shoot very well. The problem facing the Lakers is that LeBron James is also ball-dominant. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, one NBA scout believes that Westbrook should be coming off the bench. He also predicted the Lakers to not make it past the first round of the playoffs.
“To me, he’s best with the second unit, having the ball in his hands and pushing the pace,” the scout told Amick. “With (James), (Westbrook) will rebound and push it, but many times, no one runs with him… certainly not (James) or (Davis). He is a poor defender on a team FULL of poor defenders. Not a great fit there either. It is just a matter of time before the (Westbrook) volcano erupts. He is so passionate and being an LA kid, wants so badly to succeed … I just don’t see it as a great fit. (James) and (Davis) are NOT changing the way they play, nor can they. I predict a 5-7 seed and first round exit in the playoffs.”
Westbrook will never come off the bench but a first-round playoff exit would be a disaster for Los Angeles. The team could’ve gone after any number of players this offseason but decided on the former MVP. Things don’t look great right now but there is still plenty of time for the team to figure things out.
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Executive Believes Lakers Will ‘Struggle All Year’
The Lakers arguably have the strongest collection of talent on the NBA on their roster right now. It’s littered with future Hall of Famers. However, that doesn’t mean every piece fits. One rival executive believes the Lakers simply have too many players who need the ball in their hands.
“Fit wise, it will probably be a struggle all year, especially when everyone is healthy, because LeBron needs to get the ball, AD needs to get the ball and Russ especially needs the ball in his hands to be effective since he is a non-shooter when playing off the ball and just not that good at it,” the executive told Amick. “You add in ‘Melo, who needs his touches too and you have four guys who all want/need the ball to do what they do best. Plus, Russ just isn’t going to shy away from taking the shots he wants to take.”
Lakers Can Still Figure Things Out
It’s far too early to suggest the Lakers are just an average time based on five games. Davis, LeBron and Westbrook are three of the best players in the league and have only played three games together. It was always going to take time for them to figure things out so it shouldn’t be a surprise the team is struggling right now.
The biggest variable is Westbrook. He has to be willing to take on a lesser role than he ever has in the past. Davis and LeBron are clearly the two best players on the team and they should be the ones leading the charge. That isn’t to say he should come off the bench but he needs to accept that he’s not going to lead a team the same way he has in the past. If he can accept that, then Los Angeles could be much better off in the near future.