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The Russell Westbrook commerce creates some fascinating questions for the Lakers

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The Lakers dominated the information forward of the NBA Draft on Thursday evening after they accomplished a commerce for Russell Westbrook from the Wizards. The transfer offers Los Angeles a fearsome, albeit ageing superteam of Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis as its nucleus, but it surely’s additionally a extremely curious transfer.

Westbrook reportedly wished a transfer to his native Los Angeles, and when you’ve got a participant of that caliber who needs to return, effectively, you discover a approach to make it occur. The Lakers despatched Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the No. 22 decide for Westbrook, which the Wizards will use to rebuild round Bradley Beal. Whereas Washington’s intentions appear extra apparent, there are some actually fascinating questions looming for the Lakers with this new tremendous crew.

No. 1: Was this the correct transfer for the Lakers?

I imply, type of? Look, like I mentioned, when you will get a participant of Westbrook’s caliber for a comparatively low cost return, you do it — and fear about the remaining later. Nonetheless, it’s stunning they so willingly took on one other aggressive finisher on the rim, quite than discover extra taking pictures. Earlier than the deal went down, the Lakers have been rumored to be on the verge of buying Buddy Hield from the Kings for related property, a participant who might have offered higher spacing round LeBron and AD.

LeBron groups at all times thrive after they have two issues: Taking pictures, and spacing. Westbrook doesn’t actually convey both to the desk. That doesn’t imply the Lakers didn’t get higher, they usually might be extra fearsome than ever, it’s only a curious resolution that can be pretty completely different from profitable LeBron groups up to now.

No. 2: Can we name this a real “tremendous crew”?

Sure, however there are some caveats. That is worlds aside from the Nets’ huge three in Brooklyn, or the (in)well-known 2011 Miami Warmth crew when LeBron left Cleveland.

LeBron is 36-years-old. Westbrook is 32. Each are nonetheless dominant, however on the tail-end of their respective careers. This makes the potential 2021-22 Lakers much more much like the 96-97 Rockets, after they ran an enormous three of Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley and Clyde Drexler. That crew had a dominant common season, however didn’t win a championship, and didn’t keep collectively for lengthy.

No. 3: Is there sufficient ball to go round?

That’s going to be a significant query for coach Frank Voegel to scheme round. The Lakers now have two ball dominant gamers who wish to create themselves. Out of Westbrook and James it’s LeBron who’s extra keen to alter his fashion to suit, however there’s nonetheless an fascinating mesh that must be made.

Is it value LeBron sacrificing his dominance so Westbrook can shine? What about vice versa? With two stars like this there are sure to be some rising pains.

No. 4: What does this imply for Anthony Davis?

That’s maybe probably the most curious a part of all this. The youngest star of the trio, and unquestionably a celebrity in his personal proper, it could be incumbent on Davis to alter his fashion probably the most.

Early studies point out a willingness to make this work on Davis’ behalf. He reportedly informed Westbrook that he’d play heart extra usually, taking a again seat offensively, if Russ got here to Los Angeles. It’s clear the purpose for the the crew is to win a championship instantly, however that’s an fascinating wrinkle to all this.

No. 5: What is going to the Lakers beginning roster appear like?

Each James and Davis have made overtures that they’re keen to make modifications so as to accommodate Westbrook, and that would lead to a significant overhaul to the beginning 5. It’s early, however right here’s how the Lakers beginning 5 might look.

PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Alex Caruso (assuming he re-signs)
SF: Wesley Matthews, or potential veteran signing
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis

It’s a small ball lineup to make sure, however with the athletic potential to defend all 5 positions.

No. 6: Will this work?

There are going to be rising pains for positive, however the expertise is simple. With James and Davis keen to take steps so Westbook can shine the Lakers have each chance of success. Consider: The Lakers have been an Anthony Davis harm away from making a finals push, they usually’ll presumably be wholesome now.

There’s little cause to suppose Los Angeles received’t be again within the dialog as a finals favourite.

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