The Los Angeles Lakers retooled the roster this offseason and the starting lineup will look much different than it did ago, save for LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Westbrook reposted a photo to Instagram that showed himself, James, Davis, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony sporting purple and gold.
That starting five could potentially be all future Hall of Famers. All five are virtual locks to get the Hall call, with Howard having the lowest potential to make it at a very high 99.7%, per Basketball References Hall of Fame Probability chart.
That being said, the average age of that starting group would be 33.6 years old. It’s much more likely that Wayne Ellington, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn, or even Talen Horton-Tucker will slide into the starting shooting guard spot and Marc Gasol could get the nod ahead of Howard at center.
The Lakers have been criticized for a free-agent class that featured mostly players on the back end of their careers, like Anthony and Trevor Ariza. James responded to the noise on social media.
“Keep talking about my squad, our [personal] ages, the way they play, we’re past our time in this league, etc etc etc!!” James said in a now-deleted post. “Do me one favor PLEASE!!! And I mean PLEASE!!!! Keep that same narrative ENERGY when [it] begins. That’s all I ask. #ThankYou.”
Russell Westbrook Willing to Play Off the Ball
Before Westbrook landed with the Lakers he had a meeting of the minds with James and Davis, talking about how he could fit in. The three appeared to come to an agreement about some give and take on their roles, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times.
They talked about putting their egos aside and playing as one in their quest to bring the Lakers another NBA championship. Westbrook talked about how his only intention was winning and coming back home to Los Angeles to become a champion.
James and Davis talked about the two of them changing positions if that was best for the team — James moving from small forward to power forward and Davis from power forward to center.
Westbrook let James and Davis know he doesn’t mind playing off the ball when James initiates the offense, something he did while playing alongside James Harden with the Houston Rockets.
Westbrook is a triple-double monster, with the nine-time All-Star notching the most all-time with 184. However, playing off the ball with James and Davis could be tough considering he’s just a 30% shooter from deep. We’ll see how it all shakes out but the trio’s collective basketball IQ should allow them to make it work.
Wizards Owner Was Not Happy With Russell Westbrook
The Lakers are Westbrook’s fourth team in four years and his trade request in Washington appeared to rub owner Ted Leonsis the wrong way. Leonsis — who also owns the Washington Capitals — compared Westbrook’s situation with that of Alex Ovechkin, who will likely be a lifer with the Captials.
“We had a superstar player with the Wizards, he had an opportunity and wanted to be traded to the Lakers,” Leonsis told ESPN’s Emily Kaplan. “And I was dealing with that as we were announcing Alex. I couldn’t help but self-reflect on what a difference it is. Here’s a great player in Russell Westbrook, played in OKC, wanted to be traded, went to Houston, wanted to be traded, came to D.C., wanted to be traded and is now in L.A. He’s an unbelievably great person and an unbelievably great player. But that’s the difference between the NBA and the NHL, I suppose.”
The Wizards and Rockets were not ideal situations for Westbrook, with his superstar buddy James Harden requesting a trade in Houston and Washington seemingly looking to do an overhaul of the roster around Bradley Beal. With the Lakers, Westbrook is in a win-now situation, so he should find the level of team success he’s been chasing.