While the Los Angeles Lakers only have three returning players from last season’s squad, some of the newcomers do have the benefit of having played with each other previously.
Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony previously spent time together with the Oklahoma City Thunder, though their partnership only last a season before he was traded to and bought out by the Atlanta Hawks. The two are now reunited in Los Angeles, but this time around have a stronger overall roster and legitimate championship aspirations.
Playing next to Westbrook can be an adjustment for players since he is used to having the ball in his hands. Westbrook is now playing alongside another ball-handler in LeBron James as well as Anthony Davis though, so Anthony believe it is him that has had to do the adjusting this time around.
“It’s different,” Anthony explained. “It’s different, in OKC, it was his show and he was the anchor of that. And I think we did a great job putting this group together so that everybody could kind of be their own anchor to get what we were trying to accomplish. And then we all know Bron, we all know AD, but everybody else, we have to be anchors too for this to work.
“So Russ has to be who Russ is. Him coming here, him coming home, that’s always a different feeling. Maybe he’s trying to figure it out, I don’t know. But I know being home is a special feeling, I had the opportunity to play in New York and being back in front of family and friends every night, being home, it’s a big difference. I think you guys will see that with Russ once he gets going.”
So far, Westbrook has definitely looked like someone who needs more reps to feel comfortable with the Lakers as he struggled with turnovers throughout the preseason. However, that should not have come as a surprise given how new the roster is but Anthony believes the group will figure things out sooner rather than later.
Anthony has already seemed to accept his role as a spot-up shooter, but Westbrook will have to adjust to having the ball less. While the adjustment period may look rough at times, there is too much talent and experience on this Lakers team for them to not figure it out.
Anthony believes team culture will be fun
While the on-court production may time some time, the off-court chemistry already looks encouraging as the players have seemingly already taken a liking to each other. Even though the season has not started yet, Anthony believes the team culture will be fun.
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