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Russell Westbrook passed LeBron James for the fewest games to reach 4000 turnovers

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Not all milestones are to be celebrated. You probably knew Russell Westbrook was turning the ball over like crazy, but did you know he was on pace to overtake his teammate for an infamous record? Brodie passed LeBron James for the fewest games to reach 4000 turnovers.

  1. Russell Westbrook - 966
  2. LeBron James - 1154
  3. Karl Malone - 1285
  4. Kobe Bryant - 1342
  5. Jason Kidd - 1389
  6. John Stockton - 1398

But in the midst of Lakers’ turmoil and shattered expectations, does it not seem retrospectively stupid to think the Westbrook experiment would work? To think Westbrook, who has yet to win 50 games since playing with Durant, paired with LeBron, a player who by the week ages out his once default ‘give him the benefit of the doubt’ card, would lead to anything but the chaos that has emerged through the team’s first 26 games?

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The literal miles on James’ body are forcing him to shoot the ball from distances that feel uncharacteristic. His average shot is 15.3 feet away from the basket, according to Basketball Reference. This exceeded his last season’s career-high of 13.9. But while his unparalleled basketball I.Q and passing shelter his attempted career makeover, LeBron is simply not LeBron if he isn’t penetrating effectively and often. For example, in his best five-year stretch from ’12 to ’16, his average shot distance was 11.2. Even in LeBron’s last winning playoffs in ’20, a whopping 45% of his shots came inside the restricted area. 

Of course, I’m not condemning his decision to attack the basket less because calling that a decision is like calling a purchase of nappies for your baby a choice. It’s more just responding to the reality of the situation. The only reason it reminds me of dirty nappies is that when Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan added years to their game by perfecting the midrange, it only made them better. For LeBron… well, nappies. 

Expectedly, Anthony Davis doesn’t seem to be carrying the slack of the notably oldest roster in the league when he’s shooting less than 19% from deep. But whether it’s A.D’s fault or not, the Lakers look broken primarily because of their defense. In his first two seasons there, the team was 4th and 2nd in opponents’ points per game.

We’re over a quarter into this season, and they sit 28th - and we can’t just blame that on the Bald Mamba, A.K.A Alex Caruso, taking his talents to the Eastern Conference with the Bulls. Or on a more serious note, blame it on their team leader in LeBron who has yet to play four games in a row due to injury. Davis is great enough to carry this disjointed team made up of a night-to-night Westbrook, a surprisingly reliable Carmelo and Malik Monk? Okay, maybe not. 

At the end of the day, they still have Anthony Davis and LeBron James - probably the best one-two punch in basketball. That means they’re better than Durant and the declining Harden. Better than Steph and a yet to debut Klay Thompson. Better than Mitchell and the limited Gobert. Westbrook always plays better in the second half of the season, but to play at a championship-level headed caliber, he might need a few seasons with James. Too bad time is the one thing this Lakers team doesn’t have. 

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