We see lots of conversation about all the things Russell Westbrook isn't. Can't shoot the three. Can't protect the ball. Isn't a strong point of attack defender. But everyone knew what he was when we got him. Lebron knew what he was when he wanted him. Using the analogy from football, he's a high carry, bruising, down hill running back, who can chew up yards, convert fairly long 3rd downs and can imprint himself on a game, and in fact dominate it sometimes. He isn't going to catch a bunch of passes in the flats, or break off long 50 yard runs. He's a solid, intelligent blocker in the backfield, can read defenses. But mostly you give him the ball and he bruises the defense and bangs out yards, and he does it dependably, and sometimes spectacularly. Give him an O-line, some attacks on the outside, and you got a serious weapon. That's what the Lakers got, and they weren't confused when they went for him.
The thing is, you got to give him carries. Yes, he is going to put the ball on the ground occasionally, but you just have to give him carries. You got nothing if he's only touching it 20 times a game. That isn't want he is.
What were they Lakers thinking pairing this guy with Lebron?
Well, they were thinking. Moving back to the native sport, what they were thinking is that if we can just get this thing rolling down hill, this might be one of the most powerful open-court, bully-duos in the history of the league. This team is not built for the traditional half-court, and is simply going to struggle there unless a few of the new shooters get hot hands. This team is predicated on Defense, and turning the ball over. The problem is its a whole new roster, and half the roster has been missing. It won't be until January, if all goes well, before we see what Vogel and Laker management really had in mind. Once the Defense is fully operational, then we'll be able to judge.
Westbrook's carries have to be in the open court. Then we'll see what the Lakers built, and if they were right to pair Lebron and Westbrook. Until then, it will just look like Westbrook is running into his O-line over and over, stuffed by linebackers.