Russell Westbrook could possibly be on his means out of L.A. now that his potential replacements are performing properly within the preseason. [Image: Erik Drost via Flickr.com]
Working out of time
Russell Westbrook’s leash in Los Angeles is already tightening as Lakers guards proceed to impress and the chances of him leaving the crew enhance.
the butt of many jokes across the league
L.A.’s commerce for the 2016-17 NBA MVP didn’t pan out as hoped because the crew completed simply 33-49 of their solely season to this point with the “Brodie.” He was additionally the butt of many jokes across the league for his carelessness with the basketball, horrible capturing percentages, and the stigma that he’s a egocentric participant.
Westbrook joined up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in hopes of profitable his first championship, one thing the incumbent pair completed within the 2020 COVID “bubble” season, however he appears increasingly more as if he’s not within the Lakers’ plans shifting ahead.
New and improved
The 2021-22 Lakers roster fell quick in a number of key areas, together with playmaking, capturing, and depth. Common supervisor Rob Pelinka devoted a lot of the offseason to bolstering a number of positions, together with each guard spots, to treatment these points.
all 4 gamers are making a case for being within the common rotation
Lonnie Walker IV, Patrick Beverley, and Dennis Schröder soar out as essentially the most notable of the brand new acquisitions, though the return of the injured Kendrick Nunn, who has not performed since spring 2021, is an addition in and of itself. Sadly for Westbrook, all 4 gamers are making a case for being within the common rotation.
Nunn has been essentially the most spectacular to this point, posting a line of 17.0 factors and three.3 assists on 52.9% three-point capturing in three preseason video games. Walker IV has additionally chipped in with 12.0 factors and spectacular perimeter protection, whereas Beverley’s infectious angle is mirrored in the way in which the crew performs with out the ball.
Schröder was coping with visa points which have since been resolved and can make his first preseason look quickly. When he final performed for Los Angeles in 2020-21, he averaged 15.4 factors and 5.8 assists.
Rookie head coach Darvin Ham mentioned that one of the attractive components of the Lakers’ job supply was the chance to work with Westbrook, however he additionally conceded that he should earn his beginning spot and minutes. With the way in which that the crew has appeared with him off the ground, Ham’s religion in Westbrook could also be put to the check ahead of later.
Odds Westbrook leaves the Lakers?
Latest reviews revealed that the Lakers had strongly thought-about sending Westbrook and two first-round picks to the Indiana Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, each of whom match L.A.’s roster and system completely.
In the meantime, Bovada has offered odds on the place Westbrook will find yourself this season: the Lakers are nonetheless the favorites at (-200), with the Jazz (+250), Knicks (+650), and Pacers (+650) shut behind.
Nevertheless, for the reason that odds had been launched, the Jazz have had a firesale, lowering their probability of coming into the Westbrook sweepstakes.
If the Lakers do resolve to maneuver on from their beginning PG, it might enable LeBron to spend extra time on the ball as a main decision-maker, which was the position he performed through the run to the championship within the bubble. Taking Westbrook off the ground additionally creates an open slot for a shooter, which might enhance the area on the ground.
face an extended highway to get again to the glory they knew simply a few years in the past
It could be almost unattainable for L.A. to duplicate the catastrophe that was final season, however they face an extended highway to get again to the glory they knew simply a few years in the past. In-town rival Los Angeles Clippers are loaded and wholesome, the Golden State Warriors are coming off of an NBA Finals triumph, and the up-and-coming Dallas Mavericks are persevering with to surge beneath the management of Luka Doncic.
The choice to maintain or transfer Westbrook may outline the Lakers’ upcoming season. As of the time of writing, they’re +2500 (Eleventh-best) to win the 2022-23 title.
In the meantime, odds for touchdown spots for the projected primary choose in subsequent 12 months’s draft, Victor Wembanyama, are additionally out.