As long as Russell Westbrook remains a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, he will continue to serve as their lightning rod. Fair or not, it is difficult to discuss the team with another person without Westbrook’s name immediately being dragged into the spotlight of the dialogue. He has essentially and simply, become the conversation.
The start of the season has done little in quieting the noise around Westbrook and his on-court fit with the team. In fact, things have already reached mountainous heights after his late-game shooting blunder proved to be a critical gaffe as the Lakers are now 0-3 on the season.
There will likely be no shortage of trade murmurings surrounding Westbrook from here until the deadline, especially if the team continues to struggle to scrape together wins.
Until then, however, the team must still very much operate with the notion of Westbrook’s involvement and strategize how to best optimize his role within their system. Whether that means as a starter, off the bench, or in a limited capacity altogether, they must make life with Westbrook as palatable as possible.
With that said, the Lakers may actually find themselves without the polarizing point guard in the short term as it was announced Tuesday that Westbrook is listed as “doubtful” for the team’s matchup with the Nuggets.
For the Lakers, this will be a rare glimpse at what life without Westbrook actually looks and feels like, as he’s played in all but three regular-season games since joining the team. A one-game absence is undoubtedly too small of a sample to make any conclusions, but it does at least serve as an interesting test study in seeing what improvements and struggles arise. This brings us to today's episode.
On this edition of Talk-O-Tuesday, our hosts Alex Padilla and Alex Regla discussed Westbrook’s injury, his season thus far and who they feel should replace him in the starting lineup.
The duo also touched on the positives and negatives surrounding the team after three games, including the encouraging early returns of their drop coverage and their continued perimeter shooting woes.
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.