“We’re just taking it game by game with these guys and see what they want to do,” coach Frank Vogel said after the Lakers lost another preseason game, this time to the Phoenix Suns. And once again, they were without LeBron James.
The 36-year-old superstar sat out his second straight exhibition game as the organization puts off deploying their Big Three on the court together — they are yet to step foot on an NBA court together. However, based on what Anthony Davis said after yesterday’s game, the wait is over.
Anthony Davis says him, LeBron and Russell Westbrook will all play together for the first time in Tuesday’s preseason game against Golden State. AD added that he’ll be playing the 5 with that group.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 11, 2021
Tuesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors will be the first time this year’s biggest chemistry experiment will be put on test. And while one game won’t be enough for us to draw conclusions about how the rest of the season will play out — it’ll take a much bigger game pattern to do that — we should at least get a glimpse of Frank Vogel’s vision for the group moving forward. And hopefully, it’s a lot better than what we’ve seen from them in the preseason. And by them, I mean Russell Westbrook.
Following his Lakers debut against the Warriors — 2 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists on 1-for-7 from the floor — Russ had another bad performance in a 123-94 loss to the Suns. In 26 minutes of action, he put up 8 points, 2 rebounds, and 5 assists on 3-for-12 shooting from the field. And once again, he turned the ball over way too much — 9 in yesterday’s game, 6 in the game against the Warriors.
The turnover stuff is on me, but good thing they don’t count. So, turn that b***h over 15 times and nobody can do nothing about it.Russell Westbrook, Post Game Interview
After taking the blame for it, Westbrook talked about how he plans to address his turnover issue. “Easy fix though. Very easy,” he said. “It’s just timing, guys getting used to my speed, my pace, my timing, where I’m at on the floor, me just getting my timing back on passing.”
It’s still preseason, so let’s give Westbrook the benefit of the doubt. But the fact is, he’s always been careless with the ball — his career average in turnovers is 4.1. So will it really be an easy fix? Let’s see what happens when he’s on the floor alongside LeBron, the team’s primary ballhandler, and AD, who, according to Sideline Sources, is expected to play most of his minutes at the center position.
Everyone expects his usage rate to decrease with two other superstars around. Naturally, his turnovers should decrease as well. That’s the first prerequisite for the Lakers to be successful. And their journey starts on Tuesday.