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How Russell Westbrook, new Lakers can complement LeBron James, Anthony Davis


One other busy offseason has come and gone for the Lakers.

Coming off a first-round loss to the Suns within the 2021 NBA playoffs, the Lakers opened the summer season with a bang by buying Russell Westbrook from the Wizards. Not lengthy after making that daring transfer, they rounded out their roster with a variety of signings in free company, from Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard to Malik Monk and Kendrick Nunn.

Every one in all their offseason acquisitions brings one thing completely different to the desk, however all that basically issues is how the brand new Lakers complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis as they pursue their second title collectively.

With that in thoughts, let’s take a more in-depth take a look at how the workforce’s new additions match round Los Angeles’ dynamic duo.

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Russell Westbrook

Deal: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma and the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson for Westbrook and three future second-round picks

Westbrook stays one of many league’s finest playmakers and is best geared up than Dennis Schroder to take among the burden off James offensively. (That is your reminder that LeBron will enter his age-37 season rating sixth all-time in common season minutes and first in postseason minutes. It would not harm for him to play the lengthy recreation at this level of his profession.) 

His limitations as a shooter might turn out to be an issue within the playoffs — groups will virtually actually assist off him to clog the paint — however he has the instruments to wreak havoc as a cutter, curler and offensive rebounder subsequent to James and Davis.

Whether or not it is sufficient to get the Lakers again to the mountain high, we’ll see, however there aren’t many groups with their degree of star energy. It’ll be enjoyable to see if they’ll determine it out as a result of Los Angeles has the potential to be particular.

Carmelo Anthony

Deal: One 12 months, $2.6 million

Anthony posted the second-highest 3-point try fee (the proportion of his pictures that got here from the perimeter) of his profession final season. He additionally made a career-best 40.9 p.c of his 3-point makes an attempt.

Primarily a stretch 4 at this level of his profession, Anthony will look to area the ground for James and Davis in the identical means he did for Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in Portland.

Whereas Anthony is not the one-on-one scorer that he was once, he is nonetheless able to creating offense for himself. In keeping with, he scored 2.8 factors per recreation out of the submit and a pair of.6 factors per recreation in isolation final season, each of which ranked him close to the highest of the league.

The Lakers possible will not run a lot offense by way of Anthony when he shares the court docket with James, Davis and Westbrook, however he might see the ball an honest quantity in bench-heavy lineups.

Dwight Howard

Deal: One 12 months, $2.6 million

Howard will fill the identical position that he did when he was with the Lakers two seasons in the past. On offense, the massive fella provides the Lakers a presence across the basket who can nonetheless play above the rim and assault the offensive glass. On protection, he will tackle among the extra bruising assignments that Davis would favor to keep away from.

“Rebounding, taking part in protection, catching lobs,” Howard mentioned when requested about his position. “That is all I gotta deal with.”

Howard averaged 7.5 factors, 7.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 18.9 minutes per recreation with the Lakers in 2019-20. This might be his third go-around with the franchise.

Malik Monk

Deal: One 12 months, $1.8 million

Monk checks a few bins. The primary? He can shoot. Monk was up-and-down within the first three seasons of his profession, however he shot a career-best 40.1 p.c from 3-point vary final season, making him Charlotte’s second-most environment friendly 3-point shooter on the season.

Monk likes to get out within the open court docket and does not want a lot time to get his shot off.

The second? He is a bucket-getter. The Lakers aren’t precisely quick on playmaking, however Monk provides them extra juice off the bounce as a pick-and-roll and isolation scorer.

Monk scored 20 or extra factors in eight of the 42 video games through which he appeared with the Hornets final season. He had 17 20-point video games within the first three seasons of his profession mixed. He might pack fairly the punch coming off the Lakers’ bench.

Wayne Ellington

Deal: One 12 months, $2.6 million

Ellington can shoot the lights out. He has at all times been an environment friendly 3-point shooter (38.2 p.c in his profession), however Ellington has upped his quantity significantly as of late, going from averaging 2.7 3-point makes an attempt per recreation in his first seven seasons to six.4 within the 5 seasons since.

He is fairly versatile as effectively. Virtually all of his 3-pointers are assisted, however he strikes effectively off the ball — Ellington has been among the many league leaders in scoring off screens in every of the final 5 seasons — and is able to punishing groups for being overly aggressive with one dribble pull-ups.

Ellington has by no means been identified for his protection, however he is not somebody groups will have the ability to ignore on offense.

Trevor Ariza

Deal: One 12 months, $2.6 million

Ariza is not as prolific of a 3-point shooter as Ellington, however virtually half of his shot makes an attempt in his profession have come from the 3-point line. He is transformed 35.2 p.c of these alternatives.

It is the opposite finish of the court docket the place Ariza has made his cash, as he is lengthy been a stable perimeter defender. Whether or not it is as a starter or reserve, there is a good probability Ariza will spend the majority of his minutes chasing across the opposing workforce’s finest perimeter participant on most nights, as he did in his temporary time with the Warmth final season.

Ariza performed a key position within the Lakers’ championship run in 2009. He began in all 23 video games within the playoffs and was the workforce’s fourth-leading scorer with 11.3 factors per contest.

Kendrick Nunn

Deal: Two years, $10.0 million

Nunn joins the Lakers following two seasons with the Warmth. In 2019-20, Nunn completed second in Rookie of the Yr voting with averages of 15.3 factors and three.3 assists per recreation. He noticed his factors (14.6) and assists (2.6) decline ever-so-slightly in his sophomore season, however he was a extra environment friendly scorer from the sector (43.9 p.c to 48.5 p.c) and past the arc (35.0 p.c to 38.1 p.c).

Nunn checks among the identical bins as Monk, giving the Lakers some much-needed youth, 3-point capturing and playmaking.

It helps that Nunn has expertise taking part in subsequent to stars, having been teammates with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in Miami. They’re completely different gamers, however sharing the court docket with James and Davis should not be too massive of an adjustment for him.

Kent Bazemore

Deal: One 12 months, $2.4 million

Bazemore brings much more 3-point capturing to the Lakers, although he hasn’t been as constant as among the different gamers on this checklist.

The excellent news? Bazemore shot a career-best 40.8 p.c from deep final season. The Lakers might be hoping they get that model of him, not the one who is barely a few seasons faraway from capturing 32.0 p.c from the perimeter.

Bazemore additionally likes to get out in transition, which bodes effectively for his match subsequent to James and Westbrook, and he has each the scale and size to defend a number of positions. The Lakers are constructed round two of the most effective defenders within the league in James and Davis, however they did lose some defensive firepower this offseason (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Wesley Matthews and Markieff Morris).

Rajon Rondo

Deal: One 12 months, $2.6 million

One other acquainted face. Rondo is coming off a season through which he averaged a career-low 5.4 factors per recreation, however he is not far faraway from taking part in an necessary position on the Lakers throughout their championship run in 2019-20.

Even when he does not have as massive of a task this season — he figures to be behind each Westbrook and Nunn on the depth chart — he brings loads of expertise with him to Los Angeles. It sounds just like the Lakers might be leaning on Rondo to fill the void left by Jared Dudley, who was a beloved member of the workforce.

“I believe Rondo coming again is usually a actual optimistic voice from a man who’s not going to play as a lot, however can actually affect our workforce together with his management,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel mentioned.

DeAndre Jordan

Deal: One 12 months, $2.6 million

Jordan’s position might be just like Howard’s in that he provides the Lakers a rim-running massive who can anchor the paint, tackle the extra bruising matchups and rebound.

He’s coming off a down season, however Jordan might get an honest quantity of taking part in time relying on how the middle rotation shakes out. If Davis begins at heart, he’ll compete with Howard for the backup spot. If Davis begins at energy ahead, he’ll compete with Howard for a spot within the beginning lineup.

Even on the age of 33, Jordan checked out as one of many league’s finest rollers and cutters final season.


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