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“What’s going to make Russ at his best is putting more shooting around him” - JJ Redick says the LA Lakers struggles were not an indictment on Russell Westbrook, says it was an indictment on the fit of the team

Westbrook and LeBron could use 3-point specialists. [Image Credit: Getty Images]
Westbrook and LeBron could use 3-point specialists. [Image Credit: Getty Images]

The LA Lakers had another disappointing season. After getting eliminated in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs, the Lakers won only 33 games. Because of this, they fired their head coach, Frank Vogel.

Vogel was replaced by Darvin Ham, a rookie head coach. However, he has a lot of experience, both as a player and as an assistant coach.

Ham won the championship as a player with the Detroit Pistons back in 2004. He was also an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks during their 2021 NBA championship run.

Ham will have to figure out how to fix the roster and make Russell Westbrook more effective. LeBron James and Anthony Davis will also have to stay healthy if they want another deep playoff run.

Russell Westbrook under Darvin Ham

Russell Westbrook had a very disappointing season with the Lakers. They acquired him from the Washington Wizards, where he averaged a triple-double with 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists per game.

However, Westbrook's numbers in Los Angeles declined. He ended up averaging 18.5 points per game, the third-lowest mark of his career. While it's clear that the 33-year-old guard is past his prime, there is no doubt he would have played better if he was surrounded by a better team.

JJ Redick believes that Russell Westbrook and the Lakers would be much better if they surrounded the point guard with shooters. He spoke about Westbrook's tenure with the Houston Rockets, and how they adjusted the roster to fit the two-time scoring champion. Redick said:

“What’s going to make Russ at his best is putting more shooting around him, that's what the Houston Rockets did. He had the same awkward fit when he first got there, and they traded away Clint Capela and put P.J. Tucker at the five.
"They opened up the floor, and that's ultimately what the Lakers are gonna have to do if they want to be a good basketball team next year."

The Lakers had no 3-point shooting this season, which was a big reason for their lack of success. Among 30 teams in the NBA, the Los Angeles Lakers ranked 22nd in 3-point percentage at 34.7 percent.

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They will have to surround Russell Westbrook and LeBron James with better shooters. After all, they are both incredible passers, and the Lakers, with a few right roster moves, could easily rank in the top 10 in 3-point shooting next year.

Darvin Ham praises Russell Westbrook

Darvin Ham still believes in Russell Westbrook and his skills. During his press conference, Ham said that he believes Westbrook still has a ton left in his tank, which is why it doesn't make sense that some people wrote him off.

30 for LBJ.27 for AD.27 for Russ.The @Lakers trio combines for 84 points in their home W! https://t.co/3z5UOJ9GZy

The new Lakers head coach thinks that the point guard is still one of the best players in the league. However, figuring out how to make the team work is not going to be an easy task.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook are not exactly known for their shooting. In addition, their defense hasn't been special lately. Coach Ham said that the team will have to improve on the defensive end as well, so it will be interesting to see what he can achieve with them.

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Edited by Adam Dickson
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