The additions of Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony to the superstar duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis give the Los Angeles Lakers one of the most talented rosters on paper of any team in the NBA. But almost immediately, many had questions about how they would fit together.
In particular, the idea of Westbrook and James, both of whom are high usage players who are used to having the ball in their hands most of the time, fitting in great together is a major question mark. But Anthony doesn’t understand why some feel that way as when he found out about the trade, he immediately though it could work.
“Yeah. Why wouldn’t it? I don’t see why it wouldn’t make sense on the basketball stuff,” Anthony said recently. “I think people were king of overthinking, kind of overanalyzing, but it is what it is. It’s basketball players who are great coming together. So that’s what I thought.
“I didn’t react to it at first, to be honest, because it was just, I know how this works. When one piece like that works, then you gotta fill it in, you got to make it work. You got to make it a whole picture. So I was just waiting for the rollout to see what was happening next.I know how it operates because when you go get Russ, you got to make a team. You got to put a team together. So not saying for me, but just in general as a fan, I was looking forward to seeing how this was going to play out.”
It’s easy to understand why fans have some trepidation about Westbrook and James working out. James has tended to fare best when surrounded by great shooters and Westbrook’s issues from beyond the arc are well documented. But sometimes great, high IQ basketball players know how to figure it out and Anthony sees that being the case.
Additionally, Westbrook is now back at home getting to play for his hometown Lakers, which Anthony thinks adds a little more excitement for the point guard.
“I’ve been with Russ before, I know how he works, I know his work ethic, I know how he thinks, I know how he moves,” Anthony added. “The only thing, he’s home, this is home. This is LA. This is right in his backyard. So I think it was a little bit more excitement because you got your family here, your home, your kids is here.
“You ain’t got to go nowhere. Anything you need is right here in your backyard. And then you just come to work and just come enjoy work and play basketball and be around a great group of guys. It becomes easy. The only pressure is if he put pressure. So I see the same thing, I see someone who wants to figure this out and who will figure it out work and who wants to make it work. His intensity level will always be at a thousand so that’s something we expect from him every night.”
That trademark Westbrook intensity is something that will never wane and will help the Lakers throughout the season. There is no way the team will be taking games off with Westbrook on the court. But being at home provides extra motivation on top of the obvious goals of winning a championship.
The concern about everything working is fair, but when you put players like Westbrook, James, Anthony Davis and Anthony together and they are motivated on accomplishing a goal, they will do whatever it takes to figure it out.
Vogel believes Lakers will live with some turnovers from James, Westbrook
One concern that the preseason did bear out was the turnover issues from James and Westbrook, as well as Rajon Rondo, who are the Lakers’ primary playmakers. Because the ball is going to be in their hands a lot, and they attempt passes that many others don’t see, Frank Vogel is willing to live with some turnovers. He simply doesn’t want them to get careless.
“There’s an upshot and enormous level of creativity with those guys. They’re exceptional with their vision,” Vogel said. “There definitely is an element of it’s going to come with some turnovers, but we just don’t want to be careless.
“We want to value the ball, value the possession mindset that we’re pushing those guys to do. It got really out of control in the first half last night to the point where we talked about there’s new pieces and new teammates and then there’s just being careless. We were just being careless.
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