The Los Angeles Lakers let their fans down this year after failing to progress past the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, despite being the defending champions. They were eliminated by Chris Paul and the Phoenix Suns after Anthony Davis hurt and then re-aggravated a groin injury, and the Lakers brass knew something had to change. Indeed, the Lakers flexed their front office muscle in the offseason and made several moves that sent tremors across the league.
Only four guys on the Lakers’ 2020-21 roster are left. The rest are gone, including cult hero Alex Caruso.
But Lakers fans aren’t hurting that much. They’re not sweating the departures of Kyle Kuzma, Dennis Schroder, Andre Drummond, Montrezl Harrell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. If any of the fans wept over those losses, the Lakers immediately handed them a nice piece of cloth to wipe those tears up in the form of a Russell Westbrook Purple & Gold jersey.
That being said, adding Westbrook to the Lakers is a move that was met with concern from fans and pundits about his fit with the team. One of the main arguments against the trade is Westbrook’s well-known problematic outside shooting. LA was just 21st last season with a 35.4 3FG%.
LeBron James is not having any of that, though.
LeBron and Westbrook are far from washed, but their best days may also be behind them. It’s definitely interesting to see how the two ball-dominant guys, each with a penchant for stuffing stat sheets with triple-doubles would co-exist and how the Lakers’ offense would run with that duo shrinking the space on the floor.
Plus, opposing teams will still have to find a way to stop LeBron and Brodie. Adding Westbrook could also get the Lakers the rebounding boost they were supposed to get from their failed experiment with Drummond. An all-around guy like Westbrook could fill in the cracks on the Lakers’ armor — outside of 3-point shooting.
At the end of the day, the Lakers now have three of this generation’s best players. With Anthony Davis in the mix, the Lakers are always going to be viewed as a powerhouse team.