As Russell Westbrook prepares to start his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, there is still plenty of work he has to do to get acclimated to a new system. By itself, that comes with difficulties, but it’s even tougher when there are so many new players — and injured players — on the roster.
One of those new players is DeAndre Jordan, who at one time was considered one of the best centers in basketball. Westbrook has a history of playing well with centers — namely Steven Adams — but hasn’t had much of a chance to do so since leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Playing with Jordan, Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis gives him his best chance in a long time to show his abilities while sharing the floor with a center. He spoke specifically about his chemistry with Jordan. “Yeah, just trying to figure it out,” Westbrook said.
“DJ’s trying to figure me out, I’m trying to figure him out, but, like I mentioned earlier, in training camp my job is to make all these guys better around me and make the game easier for them throughout the game. There’ll be little things that we can do to be able to make the game easier for him and vice versa.”
It’s unclear exactly how much Westbrook will play alongside Jordan. Due to the spacing issues that both present, Frank Vogel might avoid this pairing, instead opting for Westbrook and Davis. However, with the injuries currently affecting L.A., there may be some time for them to prove what they can do together.
Maybe this sentiment from the Lakers point guard is a hint that Jordan could be a serious option to start at center when the regular season begins. Right now, the three choices for the center position are Jordan, Howard and Davis, but Vogel has given no indication who is leading that race.
Regardless, chemistry is going to be a major topic of conversation throughout the opening weeks of the season. Hopefully Westbrook can quickly learn the system put in place by Vogel, LeBron James and Davis.
Davis believes perimeter shooting will be necessary in bigger lineups
In lineups where Westbrook and Jordan share the floor, it may be up to the perimeter shooting of Davis to ensure decent spacing.
“It’s pretty crucial because it opens up the floor and I’m going to shoot the basketball no matter if I’m on or off,” Davis said. “My job is to create the space and open the floor for guys, especially for LeBron and Russ like tonight. Bron and Russ is getting downhill … and being able to make shots. That helps everyone on the floor. Helps them keep attacking and for me opening up the paint for them.
“That’s what DJ and Dwight on the floor or off the floor. I think just being able to knock down shots will open up the floor for our guards to attack.”
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