Russell Westbrook has not been great in the preseason for the Los Angeles Lakers but he’s not hitting the panic button just yet.
The Lakers have stumbled to an 0-5 preseason record, with Westbrook playing in three of those game. The former MVP has hit just 25 percent of his shots and has more turnovers (20) than assists (15). Westbrook joked earlier this preseason that luckily the preseason doesn’t count and he’s doing exactly what’s intended during the exhibitions — working the kinks out.
But alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the first time on Tuesday, there still appeared to be a lack of cohesion between the new star trio. Westbrook did not score until midway through the second quarter and the Warriors went on an explosive 21-3 run with the Lakers’ three stars on the floor.
“In the season, there’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs and there’s going to be adversity,” Westbrook told reporters on Tuesday, October 12. “We’ll grow together on the same page. That’s all that matters.”
Westbrook was asked when he thinks things will start to click but didn’t have an answer.
“I know that’s a question everyone keeps asking. No one has a real answer for that. We’re just going to play just like every other team, and we’re going to figure it out. We don’t need to figure it out Oct. 18 or 19, whenever the first game is.”
Frank Vogel: ‘Could Take All Year to be Our Best’
The Lakers are finding their flow with almost an entirely new roster, with Westbrook being the key addition as a ball-handler and facilitator. The Lakers aren’t rushing the process and Lakers coach Frank Vogel thinks it could take the entire regular season to truly realize their potential.
“It could take all year to really be at our best,” Vogel said before the game. “Ideally, that’s when we are at our best going into the playoffs. But we have the mindset to hit the ground running and come out of the gates really strong and things clicking as best as we can.”
The Lakers are still the favorites in the Western Conference at +195. The Warriors (+550) and Clippers (+550) are next.
LeBron James Focusing on Being Positive
James is still the unquestioned leader in LA but hasn’t been known for having the best body language on the court when things are going wrong. James knows there will be some growing pains and is committed to leading by example.
“Me as a leader, my only job is to prevent myself from getting frustrated,” James said. “If I don’t get frustrated, I think it will trickle down to everyone else. I’ve never been a person that’s okay with not being excellent. But I understand things take time as well. As long as I keep the main thing the main thing and stay even keel with whatever is going on with our ball club, we’ll be fine.”
The Lakers have one more preseason game to get things right on Thursday against the Kings. The season starts for LA against Golden State on October 19 at Staples Center.