RUSS IS A LAKER 🔥
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 30, 2021
The deal sent Westbrook to the Lakers, in return for Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the No. 22 overall pick in the 2021 draft, a 2024 second-round pick, and a 2028 second-round pick.
This was an incredible trade for the Lakers in terms of what they had to give up.
Westbrook is finally back home and he is a perfect fit for this newly constructed Lakers team.
There are three aspects to Westbrook that makes him such a great fit.
Westbrook statistically is one of the best playmakers in the entire NBA.
He is almost unstoppable with the ball in his hands with a full head of steam.
Along with this, Westbrook has no trouble getting a jump shot for himself either.
Westbrook has a career average of 18.8 shots per game throughout his 13-year career.
This will take a lot of the pressure off of James’ and Davis’ shoulders.
They were forced to carry the Lakers offense in the past two seasons as few if any of their teammates were capable of getting a shot for themselves.
Along with this, Westbrook can create for others.
OH MY GOODNESS Russell Westbrook just threw a half-court NUTMEG BOUNCE PASS through Cory Joseph's legs 🔥🔥🔥🔥😳 pic.twitter.com/VwXGzReBqA
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) March 17, 2017
He has averaged over 10 assists four times in his career and last season he had a career high in the stat with 11.7 assists per game.
This is something that the Lakers desperately needed.
James spent most of his time as the ball-handler for the Lakers as he was the best facilitator on the team.
The Lakers offense was very stagnant especially when James was off of the floor.
This is something that should change with the addition of Westbrook.
Westbrook is also a ferocious on-ball defender with a very high motor.
He averages 1.7 steals per game over his career and has a remarkable career defensive rating of 105.
Westbrook is a player that never takes a possession off on the defensive end, especially when games matter.
Fans of the Lakers can expect him to be a lockdown on the perimeter in the playoffs.
This is something that is necessary for playing on the Lakers.
They have relied on being an elite defensive team to make up for the average offense.
Since acquiring Davis, the Lakers have had the third and first-ranked defensive ratings while their offense has been ranked 11th and 24th.
Westbrook should be able to benefit the Lakers on both ends of the ball, however, him being a defensive asset is a major key for the Lakers to continue their success.
Veteran Experience/Championship Hunger
The Lakers have one of the oldest rosters in the entire league.
While this may be a concern for some, this could also be seen as a positive.
Players like Westbrook have been in the league for over a decade and as a result of this, he has seen it all.
He has only missed the playoffs once, in his rookie season.
Along with this, he is known as one of the best players of all time to never win a championship.
Being on a contending team like the Lakers will light a fire in him like we have never seen before.
While there is a good chance he will sit out or take a few games very lightly in the regular season, once the playoffs kick off, Westbrook will be at the top of his game.
With not too many years left playing at this elite level, Westbrook will likely do everything in his power not to squander his best shot at a ring in years.