It’s safe to say Russell Westbrook’s debut with the Los Angeles Lakers didn’t go the way he hoped it would. He finished Tuesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors with just eight points and four assists.
Following the loss on Tuesday night, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel acknowledged that Westbrook will have to go through an adjustment period.
“Him more than anybody, it’s going to be an adjustment period,” Vogel said, via ESPN. “He’s coming into our culture, our system. He’s the new guy, and he’s got to find his way. It’s difficult, when you’re used to being the guy who has the ball most nights, to be able to play off of others like Bron and AD. So it’s just a little bit different for him. He’s going to be great for us, but it’s going to be an adjustment period.”
Westbrook has never been the third scoring option in his NBA career. That’s something he’ll need to get used to this season since the Lakers’ offense runs primarily through Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
So how can Westbrook still make a positive impact for the Lakers while adjusting to his new situation? NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal believes Westbrook should embrace being a role player.
“They still need role players, right?” O’Neal said, via the Los Angeles Times. “I see Russ as a role player, a damned good one, but he’s a role player. It’s LeBron first, AD second and then Russ. He can get his stuff on the break.”
Westbrook should still be able to put up some fine numbers this season, but the Lakers can’t afford for him to consistently shoot 4-of-13 from the field.
Whether or not Westbrook can adapt to a new role in Los Angeles will dictate just how far this Lakers team can go.
It’ll be interesting to see how Westbrook performs on Friday night against the Phoenix Suns.