From the moment the Los Angeles Lakers traded for point guard Russell Westbrook in the summer of 2021, many questioned whether or not the trio of Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis could operate together. After one season, the answer seemed to be a resounding no, though they barely did get time on the court together due to injuries.
This season those same concerns remained, but with head coach Darvin Ham convincing Westbrook to accept a role off the bench, things have improved greatly. Davis’ recent return to form has also greatly benefitted the Lakers, and the trio put together their best performance since coming together, getting the Lakers a road win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Not only were Davis, LeBron, and Westbrook all outstanding and efficient with double-doubles, but they also combined for zero turnovers against the Bucks’ top-rated defense. After the game, Davis said that he believes the Lakers’ star trio is figuring things out and they are simply focused on continuing to get wins, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We’re figuring it out. Game-by-game, day-by-day, we’re in constant communication about how we can get better, late-game, throughout the game. The play that says for us Lakers basketball is Russ down on the floor, after a pass that Khris Middleton fumbled, and then getting us, kinda-sorta a sealing dunk, kicking it to Bron and then Bron passing it to me. We’re just figuring it out, but us 3, Russ making some great reads, making some good play calls and we’re just tryna execute. But he did a good job tonight, Bron, myself, the rest of the guys so we’re just trying to figure it out and let the outside noise be outside noise, and try to keep stacking wins.”
Davis once again led the way in Milwaukee with 44 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks. LeBron finished with 28 points, 11 assists, and 8 rebounds, while Westbrook added 15 points and 11 assists in the Lakers’ four-point win. It seems that, for the time being at least, the trio has figured out the best way for all three to operate and thrive.
If they are able to continue to play at this level, it gives hope that this team could very well compete with some of the better teams this league has to offer. With recent rumors suggesting the Lakers are leaning towards non-Westbrook trade possibilities, this core could be what the Lakers move forward with this season as they try to climb back into contention after an awful start.
Lakers’ front office leaning toward smaller trade involving Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn
Recent reports suggest that the Lakers are eyeing December 15, when most players who signed this offseason are eligible to be traded, as the time to really begin eyeing deals. And while a big trade involving Russell Westbrook is still possible, the front office is apparently more likely to do smaller deals surrounding Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn.
Both Beverley and Nunn have underwhelmed on the court this season, but their contracts combined are worth about $18.2 million, which is more than enough to bring in a couple of role players who could greatly help the Lakers. If the team continues to play at this recent level, it makes more sense for the Lakers to go down this road unless a huge trade that they can’t refuse materializes.