Will Russell Westbrook average a triple-double with the LA Lakers in the 2021-22 NBA season?

LA Lakers introduce Russell Westbrook.
LA Lakers introduce Russell Westbrook.

Russell Westbrook signed with his hometown team, the LA Lakers this offseason, a move that has propelled the team to Western Conference favorites. The reality is that the Lakers were conference favorites even before they acquired Westbrook and other great players like Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.

However, just like any superteam that has ever been formed, questions arose regarding Russell Westbrook's fit with the LA Lakers. His ball-dominant style of play is quite evident.

So many have wondered if his game would clash with LeBron James' who always has the ball in his hands. James is arguably the best passer in basketball, and he absolutely needs to be the one who makes plays and decides critical possessions.

Russell Westbrook and LeBron James are two superstars who could find a way to work together. But will Westbrook average another triple-double with the LA Lakers in the 2021-22 NBA season?

Will Russell Westbrook's first year with the LA Lakers result in his fifth triple-double season?

Russell Westbrook at the LA Lakers press conference.
Russell Westbrook at the LA Lakers press conference.

Russell Westbrook averaged a triple-double for the season in 2017, and he won an MVP award for it because it was something that hadn't been done in decades.

He then proceeded to do it three more times in the next four years. Westbrook has averaged double-digit assists in five of his last six seasons, and led the league in assists for three of the last four seasons. It is pretty evident he is a gifted passer, and needs to capitalize on the possession of the ball to be effective.

However, LeBron James needs the ball in his hands as well. He is arguably the best passer in the game, and needs to be the one to make decisions down the stretch. A possibility is that LA Lakers head coach Frank Vogel lets Russell Westbrook initiate the offense for the first three quarters and then gives the critical playmaking responsibilities to James.

Russell Westbrook is wildly underrated. He gives his 100% on the floor every time he plays, and there is probably no one else who plays harder each possession than Westbrook. He might be ranked low amongst NBA point guards, but LeBron James and Anthony Davis know he is worth taking a chance on.

Westbrook will also have to share point guard duties with Kendrick Nunn off the bench, and now reportedly, Rajon Rondo as well (if the LA Lakers do sign him). He will have to play a lot off-ball than he has ever done before. However, many people don't realise that last season with the Washington Wizards, Bradley Beal (33.1%) posted a higher usage rate than Russell Westbrook (29.5%). So people are underestimating Westbrook's off-ball prowess.

In the last five years, that one year he didn't average a triple-double was in Houston alongside James Harden. Harden needs the ball to be effective, and Westbrook's assist and rebounding numbers took a massive dip. However, the latter compensated for that by averaging 27.2 points per game, his highest scoring average since his MVP-winning season.

For the Westbrook-James combination to work, there has to be a lot of sacrificing. LeBron James is entering his 19th season in the league, and will turn 37 before 2022 rolls around. He might be willing to take a step back and let Westbrook run the show. Moreover, Westbrook, James and Davis have already decided that they will keep their egos aside and do whatever it takes to lead the LA Lakers to a title.

Westbrook knows this is probably his last chance to win a championship, so he could willingly sacrifice on individual records.

When James Harden went to Brooklyn, there were questions about whether he would fit well with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Harden altered his game and showed the league that superstars could adapt if it leads to a championship charge. We can expect the same from Russell Westbrook and the LA Lakers as well.

Westbrook has always wanted to play for the LA Lakers, as it is his hometown team. He said in his first-ever press conference that he always felt he would, some day, play for the team, saying:

"At some point...Obviously being from L.A., you always wish that you can play for your home team and being able to do that. But that’s definitely something that always kind of circled around in my mind and maybe one day. But I always would come back and be like that probably won’t happen, but I just kind of waited to see if that would ever happen, but now we’re here and I’m gonna take full advantage of it."

It's perhaps safe to surmise that Westbrook may not average a triple-double with the Lakers in the 2021-22 season. But the Lakers would take that if that leads to another NBA championship.

Also Read: Who is Russell Westbrook’s wife, Nina Earl?

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Edited by Bhargav
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