Zero bet. Lakers go all-in again


Since the beginning of the NBA Draft ceremony, the NBA began to hand out bright combinations of cards that the teams will play in the upcoming season: Miami, Chicago, Golden State and many others have shuffled bright gains with losses, but only the Lakers traditionally managed to surpass everyone.

To outmaneuver is not to do a job better than others, but to build into absolute last year’s echoing and colorful bidding campaign. The Lakers have once again appeared as a kind of casino that does not always win, which does not prevent it from luring potential customers in the person of players and curious onlookers with its lights and promises.

“The Lakes” said goodbye to Centavius-Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Kyle Kuzma, Markiff Morris, Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell, but thundered the exchange of Russell Westbrook, tamed the young Kendrick Nunn and Malik Monk. We also set up a branch of a nursing home, where Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Kent Basemore, Wayne Ellington and the long-awaited Carmelo Anthony drove one by one.

The reaction followed immediately: inquisitive minds, in collaboration with skillful pens, began to make collages, the download of applications responsible for the aging of photographs increased significantly, and the club’s purchasing campaign was compared to running around at mass market discounts. And everything would be so hilarious if it were not for the presence of a certain logic. Let it be controversial and little guarantee, but still.

Russell Westbrook, as expected, was the main target for the warriors of computer keyboards. But the goals for which he was traded to Los Angeles are quite transparent and not devoid of meaning. The main challenge for the Lakers remains a successful performance in the playoffs, for which the team needs to keep LeBron James and Anthony Davis in good health and good spirits.

The best way to do this is by offloading the regular season at the expense of other players, and Westbrook is the character who made a name for himself with his outstanding individual performance in the regular season. Despite the fact that at 32 he continues to play in a rather athletic and stressful manner for the body, Rusty missed only 7 games last season. As for his involvement in the Lakers’ game, not everything is so hopeless here either.

LeBron remains the Lakers ‘main playmaker, but Westbrook has qualities that will reduce James’ engagement and workload. To begin with, these are passes with a three-point under the hoop. James, unlike Westbrook, is no longer as fast in this component. Russell was 7th in the NBA with 20.8 passes per game last season, but LeBron wasn’t even in the top ten.

In addition to this, there is the first place in the percentage of passes from the passes, in other words, Russ, with all his meager point guard skills, being in the pass, more often than others dropped the ball into the corner if the opponent’s defense was tightened on him. This also works for LeBron, but now he does not have to risk his health in the contact fight as often as it used to be.

A point that is even more obvious in Westbrook’s case. What does Russ do best? That’s right – shuttle on the parquet in the electric broom mode. What does an age team need when they put their leader on the bench? Maintain or increase the pace of the game, depending on whether the team is leading or falling behind.

When he landed in Washington last season, Westbrook beat the already running Wizards from fifth pace in the league to first. A quick attack has always been Rusty’s element, and everything suggests that over the years this area of ​​habitation continues to be the most favorable for him. It is unlikely that LeBron will rush after him like a scalded one, but one can safely assume the option of a spare five with Westbrook as point guard, three snipers (for example, young Monk, Horton-Tucker, Reeves) and Davis in the center position.

This combination not only offers a potential speed advantage but also rebounds as Westbrook continues to be one of the best rebounding defenders, which means the Lakers will be better on the backboards at both ends of the court.

Of course, for the most part, all these advantages relate to the regular season, where the teams are not so focused on defense and a lot is decided by individual skill. In the playoffs, everything will be different – higher resistance density, more options for defense, but even here the Lakers have something to object.

Everyone knows that LeBron prefers to play with the age lineup, and this is not just a whim, but an empirically proven truth that it is the old robbers who most often get the coveted Larry O’Brien globe. Take a look at the latest finalists. With the exception of Yannis Adetokunbo, 31-year-old Jrue Holiday, 36-year-old PJ Tucker and Chris Middleton, who will turn 30 this week, lead the Milwaukee championship. where the team was before the arrival of 36-year-old Chris Paul and where they climbed after.

There are a lot of talented young players in the league, but the playoffs are a different basketball, a different level of resistance, the intensity of the game, and at a distance of several series, the key role is often played not by the number of forces, but by the ability to distribute. Experience plays a more important role here, so for the Lakers, who are aiming at least for the Western finals, the bet on seasoned players looks organic.

But whether this bet will work will depend not only on the skill of the players, but also, as the experience of the Bucks shows, on luck. In general, everything is like in a casino.

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