The Los Angeles Lakers’ 2021-22 season has not gotten off the best start as they currently sit at 0-2 at two lackluster performances against tough Western Conference teams in the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns.
The big gamble the Lakers made this summer was bringing in Russell Westbrook to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. While it hasn’t worked out to this point, there is still plenty of season left and no one inside the Lakers locker room is in panic mode.
After Saturday’s practice, Westbrook explained why that’s the case.
“We’re all figuring each other out,” Westbrook said. “Guys are figuring out how to run with me and play a little faster, and I’m figuring out how to do other things like moving off the ball and doing things that I’ve kind of got to figure out. We’re all adjusting to one another and that’s a process. It’s not going to happen in the first week of the season and we understand that and I’m OK with the struggle of figuring it out and making sure that we’re putting ourselves in a position to do the right things so that ultimately at the end of the year, we can be playing our best basketball.”
Having two ball-dominant players like James and Westbrook definitely takes an adjustment period, which can sometimes get frustrating when immediate results are expected from talented players like that.
All throughout Westbrook’s career though he has typically started seasons slowly and gotten better and better as things went along. That is what he is focused on with this Lakers team as well.
“I’m Ok with adversity, honestly. I know that I never panic throughout the season, especially at the start of the season, there’s really no need to. The season is too long and nobody is winning nothing right now. Yes, it’s good to get out to a good start and feel good about yourself but especially me personally, I like to make sure that as the season goes on, I’m constantly just getting better and better and better as the season prolongs and making sure that my team and teammates are getting better as well and we all get comfortable with each other.”
Westbrook already seems to be improved as after a poor Lakers debut in which he finished with just eight points, five rebounds and four assists on 4-of-13 shooting, he responded with a 15-point, 11-rebound and 9-assist performance against the Suns.
Westbrook points to continuity of Suns and Warriors
With the Lakers only returning three players from last season’s roster, they have arguably the least continuity in the league at the moment. Their two opponents so far, on the other hand, have played together a lot, which is why Westbrook isn’t super concerned about the losses.
“It’s all a process,” he said. “Yes, everybody wants it as much as we do, we want to win every game and feel like we should win every game, blah blah blah. But in reality, we played Phoenix. Their starting lineup last year probably played the most minutes I think together as a team. Before that, a team that’s been together in Golden State, you know? We’re figuring it out and once we do, as you see for spurts, it’s very beneficial to us in this room.”
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