After a disappointing finish to the 2020-21 season, the Los Angeles Lakers roster has undergone a complete makeover in hopes of getting back into championship contention.
One of the Lakers’ biggest needs was a ball-handling playmaker to complement LeBron James, and they went out and got one of the best to ever do it in Russell Westbrook.
After acquiring Westbrook in a trade with the Washington Wizards, the Lakers then focused on adding veterans that can shoot to round out the roster.
While some may question how James and Westbrook will fit together as two ball-dominant players, the latter emphasized that he is hoping to come in and make things easy for the former, who is entering his 19th NBA season.
The two stars seem to be excited for the upcoming season as James took to Instagram to show that he and Westbrook are already working out together with Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy:
One of the Lakers’ biggest strengths during their 2020 championship run was their chemistry, which didn’t seem as strong this past season. With the additions of Westbrook and veterans coming over with the goal of winning a championship though, the hope is that the Lakers will get back to being a tight-knit group on and off the floor.
James being back in the gym also means he’s feeling healthy, which is a good sign after he missed a majority of the second half of last season with a high ankle sprain that also hobbled him in the playoffs.
Westbrook doesn’t feel he has anything to prove
Westbrook has accomplished everything there is as an NBA player except winning a championship, although he will have perhaps his best opportunity to do that on this Lakers team.
Even though he obviously is coming with the goal of winning a championship, Westbrook emphasized that he doesn’t have anything left to prove to anyone.
“I’ve been blessed and thankful to be able to be in this league so long and lucky to be able to play and be healthy. When I got drafted in the NBA, that was me proving people wrong. When I was able to go to college and get a degree, that was me proving people wrong. Not a degree. I wish I got a degree, but go to college. Go to UCLA from the inner city that was me proving people wrong. Just making it out the hood was proving people wrong. I don’t need to do that anymore.
“I’ve been able to bless the people around me, my family. Being able to impact people all across the world with this platform that’s been given to me and I’m going to continue to do that. Obviously, wanting to win a championship. Ultimate goal is to make sure we use what we have to impact those around you.”
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