Sports

3 reasons why Russell Westbrook trade will still pan out for the Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have started off the 2021-22 campaign slow following their action-packed offseason. Their biggest move was acquiring star guard Russell Westbrook, sending Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell and a first-round pick to the Washington Wizards in the trade.

This move created a Big 3 with Westbrook alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Russ and the Lakers have yet to get going despite the talent on the roster. They are 12-12 on the year and sit on eighth place in the Western Conference.

The slow start can be attributed to injuries and a lack of chemistry. These problems have led to poor defense, weak defensive rebounding and turnovers. While the Lakers’ issues have been evident, they seem to be building in the right direction.

Westbrook is beginning to fit in, and his production will be vital in Los Angeles’ success. With that said, here are three reasons why the Russell Westbrook trade will still pan out for the Lakers.

3. Russell Westbrook’s fit with the Lakers

One of the biggest concerns about the deal for Westbrook was how he would fit with the team. He has picked his game over the last seven games despite an inconsistent start.

Westbrook is settling into a groove and finding his role on the Lakers. While his stats may not be the same as in the years prior, he is becoming a very productive player for Frank Vogel’s group.

When Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza return from their injuries, it will give a boost to the Lakers and complement the big 3. Westbrook’s fit should continue to improve with both the offense and defense throughout the season.

2. Russ is a dynamic playmaker

The Lakers made the deal for Westbrook in large part due to his dynamic playmaking ability. Last season, LeBron James was the primary ball-handler, and Los Angeles relied heavily on him. Bringing in Westbrook has taken some of the stress off of James and helped them stay competitive when he is off the floor.

His impact as a playmaker also allows players like Carmelo Anthony, Wayne Ellington and Malik Monk to shine as 3-point shooters.

On the season, Westbrook is averaging 8.6 assists per game, which leads the team. He will continue to be a great playmaker, which should boost the offense moving forward as the Lakers get fully healthy.

1. Westbrook is a solidified star

Last season, the Lakers came up short in the first round, losing to the Phoenix Suns. The injury to Anthony Davis in that series was detrimental as LeBron was unable to carry the roster himself. Adding Westbrook takes away that issue since he can be relied on alongside another star if one were to go down in a crucial moment.

He is averaging 20.3 points per game along with 8.0 rebounds while shooting 44.6 percent from the field. His ability to do everything at a high level will be integral for Los Angeles’ success this season.

Having a reliable third option was one of the biggest issues for the Lakers last season, but Westbrook fills that role behind James and Davis.

Rob Pelinka gave up a ton to acquire the star guard, but they should reap the benefits in the postseason. Team chemistry is slowly building up, and as they get healthier, the Lakers should continue to improve.

While it may take time for fans to accept the Westbrook deal as a good trade, he should be able to prove himself and help the Lakers make a deep playoff run.

F1, Joel Embiid, Sixers



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