The Los Angeles Lakers’ season completely changed at the trade deadline when they dealt away Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and a couple other players to bring in D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba. A couple weeks earlier, the Lakers swung a deal to bring in Rui Hachimura, who has been huge in these playoffs so far.
For the Lakers, the overall depth of the roster was greatly improved and they would go on a run that now has them on the brink of advancing to the second round of the playoffs. For Westbrook, he would ultimately wind up with the Los Angeles Clippers, a situation that wound up allowing him to show that he is still a great NBA player.
While he still had his struggles at times, Westbrook had some outstanding games and moments for the Clippers in their first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns. Though the Clippers would be eliminated in five games, Westbrook overall had an excellent showing and simply looked like he was having fun again. And the point guard would admit that being traded away from the Lakers really lifted a weight off of his shoulders.
“Once I got traded. Immediately, to be honest. From that moment, mentally, I was in a better place,” Westbrook said after the Clippers’ season ended.
It was clear for most of this season that Westbrook was struggling with his confidence and everything that was coming his way while with the Lakers. The fit of Westbrook on the team was simply a bad one from the start and the amount of criticism coming his way was overwhelming. Though much of it was deserved for his play on the court, there were times when things went a little overboard as Westbrook became an easy scapegoat for the Lakers’ issues.
Getting away from that will do wonders to anyone mentally and Westbrook was able to show he still has plenty left in the tank, albeit thanks to injuries to the Clippers stars forcing him into being the primary offensive creator once again. As a free agent this summer, the questions still remain on whether he can have that same level of impact when he is not the offensive focal point.
But in the end, the trade turned out to be a win-win for both sides as the Lakers have a roster that better fits around their stars and Westbrook got away from a situation that was hurting him mentally and was able to deliver on a big stage.
Anthony Davis doesn’t care about individual success as long as Lakers win
For the Lakers, they find themselves just one win away from moving on the second round of the playoffs and that was despite a lackluster offensive night from star Anthony Davis in Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies. But the Lakers star was not concerned with his rough game, as long as the team gets the win in the end.
“I feel really good. I’m all about getting wins no matter how I do it, no matter how we do it,” Davis said. “Things aren’t always gonna be perfect. Sometimes you got to win ugly, sometimes you don’t play well but you’re still trying to leave your imprint on the game and that’s what I tried to do tonight on the defensive end. Had some good looks and missed them but still tried to do the little things to help the team win.”
Davis had just 12 points on the night, but five of those came in overtime and he had 11 rebounds and four blocks on the night as well, still finding a way to leave his fingerprints on the game.
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