The Russell Westbrook trade did not pan out for the Los Angeles Lakers in year one. Los Angeles missed the playoffs, despite starting the season as one of the favorites to win the championship. Westbrook never quite fit in with the team, but that was not the only problem they faced.
Head coach Frank Vogel struggled to make adjustments, which led to his firing at the end of the season. The Lakers also faced injuries to stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, making it hard for the team to find a rhythm.
General manager Rob Pelinka also deserves some of the blame. He surrounded the stars with older role players. Los Angeles simply couldn’t keep up with other teams, and this offseason is crucial to bouncing back next season.
Many Lakers fans are hoping Westbrook is traded, but it is a real possibility that he will return. He has a $47 million player option, and teams around the league don’t want to take that on without added draft capital. A big part of the hiring process for the new head coach involved finding a way to make Westbrook fit. With that said, here are three reasons the Russell Westbrook experiment can still work for LeBron James and the Lakers.
3 Reasons Russell Westbrook Can Fit with the Lakers
1. Younger, Better Role Players Around the Stars
One of the main problems with the Lakers last season was their talent around the big three. The energy and effort, especially on the defensive end, led to major struggles for the Lakers. Young guys like Stanley Johnson, Austin Reaves, and Wenyen Gabriel played impactful minutes.