The Los Angeles Lakers seemed to hit their low point as the NBA’s trade deadline approached, but since it has passed with no moves being made, the team has looked completely different. From the stars like LeBron James and Russell Westbrook to the younger players like Austin Reaves and Malik Monk, the energy within the team has been much improved.
The Lakers as a whole have been locked in on both ends of the court showing more energy on defense and more fluidity on offense in their two games since the deadline passed. Though they came up just short against the Golden State Warriors, they were able to pick up a win against the Utah Jazz and Westbrook noted the teams’s improved pace and movement in the last couple of contests.
“We’re playing different. A lot more kick-aheads, we’re not playing it slow,” the Lakers point guard said. “The past two games we’ve played a lot faster. Our wings are running and doing a good job of cutting, including myself, just moving the ball and putting people in positions where they can be successful.
“I think we’ve done a better job of that the last two games of just allowing the guys to use our weapons the right way and making sure that we continue to do that for 48 minutes, regardless of what’s going on. To me, obviously the change in how we play and our pace and different things of that nature.”
That off-ball movement is crucial, especially when playing with James, one of the best passers this league has ever seen. It has also allowed players like Monk and Talen Horton-Tucker to flash their playmaking ability as well and overall more players are being involved consistently within the offense.
This has all helped Westbrook as well as he has looked better and contributed to the Lakers’ improved play which is all he cares about in the grand scheme of things.
“I just think how we’re playing is a little different than we played before,” Westbrook added. “Once I’m in position to do things and on the floor to help win games, that’s all that matters. Because ultimately, all the numbers and stats and all that stuff don’t really mean nothing if you don’t win and for me, I want to make sure that I’m playing the right way and playing good basketball for the betterment of my team and that’s all I can worry about.”
Westbrook has struggled at times to figure out his role on this Lakers team, but it finally looks as if things are clearing up for him and the Lakers as a whole, which could be the key to them finally turning things around.
Westbrook focused on leadership, being positive voice for Lakers
Even when Westbrook is struggling on the court, he is still a much-respected player and voice and that has been the case wherever he has been in the NBA. Westbrook realizes that this is something he can still bring to the Lakers and is focused on doing so.
“It’s difficult, but part of my job, I feel like one of my strengths is leadership and staying with it,” Westbrook said. “I like to make sure I do a better job during timeouts, regardless of what’s going on, regardless of what happened, staying positive, bringing positive energy and keeping our spirits moving in the right direction.”
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