After an eventful NBA offseason, the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets have established themselves as championship contenders and perhaps the best two teams in the league.
Most of the Nets’ big moves were made last year when they acquired James Harden to pair with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. They have made some solid signings along the margins this summer though, most notable bringing back Blake Griffin on a minimum deal and signing Patty Mills for the mid-level exception.
The Lakers were the team that made the splash of the summer by acquiring Russell Westbrook, giving them their own big three along with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Health was an issue for both the Lakers and Nets in 2020-21, leading to early postseason exits for both teams. If they can stay healthy in 2021-22 though, many people believe they could be on a crash course to the greatest NBA Finals of all time.
One person who is skeptical of that though is Griffin as he recently took a bit of a shot at the Lakers’ new roster, via Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News:
Blake Griffin on the Lakers, Heat and other teams adding stars this summer: "You look at it but at the end of the day, things on paper, it's tough to say. I've been in situations where a team stacks up and it doesn't work out." #Nets
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) August 12, 2021
Griffin is right that some superteams haven’t worked out and it’s fair to be skeptical about Westbrook’s fit alongside James and Davis as a non-shooter.
The Lakers did a nice job of filling out their roster with shooters though, which should help alleviate some concerns that critics like Griffin may have regarding if it can work.
Westbrook hoping to make game easier for James
One person who isn’t concerned about how the pieces will fit together is Westbrook as he recently stated that he is hoping to come in and make the game easier for James.
“As you know, LeBron is one of the best players to play this game and his ability to be able to do everything on the floor allows me to just figure it out. I’m coming to a championship-caliber team and my job is to make sure that I’m able to make his game easy for him. I’ll find ways to do that throughout the game.
“As it pertains to ballhandling and all that, it really doesn’t matter. There’s many different ways you can impact the game without having the ball in your hands. I’ve been able to do that for many years. I will figure it out.”
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