Since the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook, the focus remains on his fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The intertwined play between the trio will serve as the anchor toward determining the Lakers’ NBA title chances this upcoming campaign. As the preseason nears a close, James dished out his honest assessment of the team’s newly formed Big 3.
Lakers work through adjustments in preseason action
Through the first five preseason games, it’s been a massive adjustment for the Lakers‘ revamped roster.
Much of the focus remains on the team’s Big 3 after they finally played together for the first time on Tuesday night. The trio showed flashes of promise, such as Russell Westbrook finding James in transition for a fastbreak layup. Meanwhile, Davis is showing he’s physically past his injuries from last season through his solid offensive performances.
It’s also become extremely apparent the transition is steep for Westbrook as he attempts to mesh his playing style alongside James and Davis. The star point guard is working toward finding his spots to contribute, leading him to commit a high volume of mistakes as he posted a third straight game with at least five turnovers.
As the Lakers move toward the final preseason action before the season opener, James honestly assessed the team’s Big 3.
LeBron James reveals brutally honest answer about the Lakers’ new Big 3: ‘It’s going to take a minute’
The Lakers are well aware of the overwhelming focus directed toward the play of their Big 3.
After competing in the first game together in preseason action, James dished out his honest early evaluation of the team’s star-powered trio.
“It’s going to take a minute for us to become the team that we know we are going to be capable of being,” James said via MSN. “So, it’s all about just working the process, being patient with the process, understanding that we’re going to have frustrating moments. We’re going to have moments where we’re not quite right there.
“We may take a step backward. But that’s all part of…I think nothing is worth having if it’s not worth working for and I think we’re going to hit some moments where we feel like we’re right there but we’re not quite there.”
James is speaking from experience as he went through similar adjustment periods playing alongside other ball-dominant star players. The four-time league MVP successfully altered his approach to playing with Dwyane Wade with the Miami Heat and Kyrie Irving during his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Westbrook’s up-tempo playing style is a significant adjustment for James and the rest of the team. Only Carmelo Anthony holds previous experience playing with the star guard stemming from his one-year stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Lakers will experience tough stretches where frustration will boil over, but it’s the commitment to the ultimate goal that must stay firm.
Los Angeles must exercise plenty of patience
Although it’s only preseason action, the time together on the floor remains crucial.
Head coach Frank Vogel holds the challenging task of piecing together the appropriate system and rotations. The Big 3 will unquestionably anchor their NBA title chances, but it’s much more than that. It’s a new group of talent outside of James, Davis, Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, and Rajon Rondo.
The players continue to demonstrate they possess the right mindset, but it will take other sacrifices. It must feature them putting their egos aside while playing for the betterment of the team. The transition process won’t be smooth as the Lakers will experience tough stretches, but the end goal remains prominently placed ahead.
“It could take all year to really be at our best, and ideally, that’s when we are at our best — going into the playoffs,” Vogel said via ESPN. “But we have the mindset to hit the ground running and come out of the gates really strong with things clicking as best as we can.
“But it’s reasonable to think that there’s going to be some bumpy nights early in the season, but we had the expectation coming in two years ago and we jumped out of the gates pretty strong. So, that’s what we’re hoping for.”