The Lakers agreed to trade Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, and the 22nd pick in this year’s NBA draft for superstar Russell Westbrook.
This gives the Lakers a big three, but it also brings a lot of questions.
Can Westbrook, James, and Davis complement each other in a way that translates to wins?
Until we can see it on the court, all we can do is analyze different scenarios. Russell Westbrook and LeBron James are both ball-dominant players, so one of them has to give up at least some of the ball handling. On Thursday, Brad Turner of the LA Times reported that the three stars had a conversation about playing together two weeks ago. In there, they talked about putting their egos aside and even a change of position for James and Davis. Westbrook also talked about playing off the ball when James initiates the offense.
That’s the most important thing that needs to happen if this is going to work. The three superstars are committed to winning, and they show this by being willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish it. After this step, it’s all about getting to know each other on the court. Frank Vogel will have a big challenge in trying to make everybody happy and making this work.
This trade can be looked at as a counter to Brooklyn’s big three. It can also be a consequence of a season full of injuries for both Davis and James. So, Westbrook’s addition will be valuable in that regard. But the thing that Westbrook will help is in the minutes LeBron’s on the bench. The Lakers’ offense has taken a big hit every time LeBron’s not on the court, but that problem appears to be solved with Westbrook’s addition.
Now, the biggest question is probably how the spacing will work. Neither of the three players is great three-point shooters, with Westbrook and Davis shooting 30% from three last season.
If the front office surrounds them with shooters, then there’s one player that almost always makes things work, and that’s LeBron James.
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