The regular-season opener did not go the way the Los Angeles Lakers hoped it would as while Anthony Davis and LeBron James were dominant, Russell Westbrook struggled mightily in his debut for his hometown team and the Lakers fell to the Golden State Warriors.
In his first game in purple and gold, Westbrook shot just 4-of-13 from the field and finished with eight points, five rebounds, four assists and four turnovers in the Lakers’ loss. Most surprising, however, was Westbrook’s lack of aggression as he seemed hesitant and tentative at times, not attacking the basket as ferociously as he is known to do.
Whether it was nerves or something else, Russell Westbrook was just not himself on Opening Night, and Anthony Davis believes the point guard needs to be that player for the Lakers to succeed.
“I think he needs to be himself,” Davis said. “I think a lot of times, and even in the preseason, he wants to get everyone involved and rightfully so, that’s what he does. He’s averaged a triple-double so he wants to get those assists and get guys going, which opens up the lane for him. But a lot of times, when you get there they fan back out and now he has a wide-open layup or a dunk but he’s looking to pass so we just want him to be himself, be aggressive, be Russell Westbrook, be the reason why we traded for you.
“Once he does that, everyone else will figure out how to play around him. So it’s a learning experience and like I said, it’s Game 1, our first game and we’ll build around him and make him more comfortable where he can have those games that we’re used to.”
It can sometimes be tough for a player in Westbrook’s position coming to a team with two established stars such as Davis and James. In an attempt to fit in, which is surely something Westbrook is trying to do especially as many have doubted his ability to do so, he is losing those attributes that made him a former MVP in this league.
It is still only been one game and it was always going to be a process to figure out how to best utilize all three of the Lakers’ superstars. But all three of them will do everything possible to ensure the Lakers reach that point with everyone thriving.
LeBron James doesn’t want Russell Westbrook to be so hard on himself after Lakers debut
Knowing the intense competitor that Westbrook is, there is no doubt that he was extremely angry at himself for his lackluster performance in his first game with the Lakers. But LeBron James doesn’t want Westbrook to be so hard on himself and offered some advice for his teammate following the contest.
“I’d tell Russ to go home and watch a comedy. Something that will put a smile on his face,” James said after the loss. “He’s so hard on himself. I’d tell him don’t be so hard on yourself, it’s one game. Understand that we’re all competitors, and we all feel like shit when we don’t play well and play to our abilities, so I completely understand that as well, so I just don’t want him to be so hard on himself.”
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