The Los Angeles Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook, who will join LeBron James and Anthony Davis to form the NBA's latest Big Three. After injuries derailed LA's attempt to defend their bubble championship, everyone assumed they would make a big move, but Westbrook seems to make no sense.
He is not the typical point guard who plays alongside James. He takes a ton of shots and has the ball in his hands at a historic rate. When you look for a point guard to go with LeBron you want somebody who can make spot up three-pointers created. Westbrook is a career 30 percent three-point shooter.
This will be Westbrook's fourth team in the last four seasons. In each of the previous five seasons with Westbrook as the leader of a team, they have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs. Each season he has been one of the seven highest-paid players in the league. Yet each team weighs the pros and cons and decides they can make it work with Westbrook. Now it's the Lakers turn.
Here's the thing. Westbrook is going to show up every single night for the Los Angeles Lakers. He's going to be on the floor, pushing the ball up the court and playing hard. The fans at Staples Center are going to love his intensity in those moments and when it comes time to take a big shot, he's going to be ready, if not too willing, to take it.
If LeBron James and Anthony Davis are healthy, they can win a title with Russell Westbrook. I know that's a big if as Davis is well-known for his injury issues and LeBron has even shown some serious signs of being human since he joined the Lakers. But if those guys are healthy, it doesn't matter who the third or fourth guy is. They have a legitimate chance. Not to mention they're going to be extremely fun to watch.
Should LeBron and AD pull this off with Westbrook, it would give James quite a feather in his resume's cap, which when we look back on it, will be kind of silly.
Russell Westbrook is a former MVP. He's a nine-time All-Star. He's made nine All-NBA teams. He's led the NBA in scoring twice. He's led the league in assists three times. He's averaged a triple-double. In three out of the last four seasons. And on top of all that he's one of the greatest athletes to ever play basketball. He's been in the NBA 13 seasons. His team has made the playoffs in 11 of the last 12 seasons.
For more than a decade if you've had Westbrook on your team you went into every game knowing you could win. Now he gets to play alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. This time it might work out.