Anthony Davis, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook made their big Los Angeles Lakers debut on Tuesday night.
Despite looking good in flashes, the trio still couldn’t lead LA to victory – ultimately falling 111-99. The defeat dropped them to 0-5 in the preseason.
Westbrook finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 turnovers on the night. Through three games with the Lakers, he has recorded 20 turnovers – which isn’t great. So far his biggest highlight as a member of the purple and gold has been slapping a misbehaving fan.
The Lakers’ Big Three spent 19 total minutes together. On the positive side of things, they recorded a defensive rating of 95.6. Defense remains at the core of this group’s identity, which is good. On the not-so-positive side of things, the team’s offensive rating was just 91.1.
In response to some of his team’s early offensive struggles, Davis came out and offered a blunt assessment of the situation.
“We want to be good, but we don’t want to skip steps,” he said, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “You can’t rush the process of what we’re trying to do and win championships. We know, possibly, there could be struggles to start the season. But we never wanna get out to a slow start — 0-5, 0-6, whatever. We still want to be able to fight through our mistakes while winning games.”
James said something similar on Tuesday night.
“It’s going to take a minute for us to become the team that we know we’re going to be capable of being,” he acnowledged.
“It’s all about working the process, being patient with the process, understanding that we’re going to have frustrating moments, we’re going to have moments where we’re right there and we may take a step backward. I think nothing is worth having if it’s not worth working for. We’re going to hit some moments where we just feel we’re right there but we’re not quite there yet. Any time you have a new team and a whole new core of guys, it just takes a little minute.”
Westbrook echoed that sentiment, before admitting he didn’t know how long the adjustment process would ultimately take.
“I don’t have an answer for that one, honestly,” Westbrook said. “I know that’s the question everybody keeps asking. Nobody has a real answer for that. We’re just going to play like every other team and then we’re going to figure it out. We don’t know need to figure it out when the first game is.
“We got one goal in mind and that’s to win a championship so throughout the season, there’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs, there’s going to be adversity. Once we’re together on the same page, that’s all that matters.”
Dodgers vs Giants is a very exciting series. https://t.co/OPpiG1Tcsa
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 13, 2021
It was a much more thoughtful response from Westbrook, sitting in stark contrast to the angry four-word message he delivered just a few days earlier.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has maintained that one major problem has been at the core of the team’s woes thus far. He believes it’s fixable.
Whether that ultimately proves true or not will likely dictate how far the Lakers go in 2021-22.