Why Does Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers make sense? There are a lot of answers to that question.
After he averaged 22.2 points, 11.7 assists, and 11.5 rebounds last season with the Washington Wizards, leading them to the playoffs with fellow superstar Bradley Beal, Westbrook is being shipped to the Lakers. The package for the superstar included Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a first-round draft pick, which turned out to be Isaiah Jackson. Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in four of the last five seasons, dating back to his time with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Does “Brodie” have the desire to put his pride and stat line aside to refer to James and Davis this season in hopes of capturing his first NBA Title? I think it is very possible to do, but there are reasons that it may not work out — the biggest being shooting ability.
LeBron James has always had shooters around him on a championship team — that’s what makes him thrive in an offense. Westbrook is not known for his great shooting ability, if any ability at all. The Lakers finished 21st overall last season in three-point shooting percentage, 28th overall in free-throw percentage and 12th overall in field goal percentage. Does Westbrook help these stats? Simply put, no. Westbrook shot 43.9% from the field overall, while only shooting 31.5% from three-point range and 65.6% from free-throw range. This is not what the Lakers need, but it’s what they got. James is going to be running the show and Westbrook is there to take the focus off Davis and James, h allowing them to stay healthy. This is especially important for James as he enters is 18th season in the league.
The Russell Westbrook sign-and-trade allowed the Lakers to acquire different players to surround the three stars in LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Westbrook. These players included future Hall of Famers Dwight Howard, who was a part of the 2020 Lakers Championship team, and Carmelo Anthony who can still play at a high level despite coming off the bench. Veterans like Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, and Kent Bazemore allow James to attack and have the ability to kick out to a very reliable three-point option. Other signings like Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk bring youth, and perimeter defense along with the three-point option. These players are pieces of the Lakers puzzle that can allow them to contend for an NBA Championship next season.
Westbrook would not be enough by himself alongside James and Davis, simply because he does not shoot the ball well. It would be easy to beat the Lakers with just those three by making them shoot jumpers. That’s not either of their strong suits, so it could be a recipe for disaster in LA.
With the help of these key additions the Lakers big three of Westbrook, James, and Davis are NBA Title contenders.