According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Russel Westbrook wasn’t the first choice of the LA Lakers as a point guard. The team towed with several plans before acquiring the former MVP.
The LA Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook during the 2021 off-season in a blockbuster deal leading to a Big 3 at the Staples Center. Though Brodie joining forces with LeBron James and Anthony Davis makes them a top contender for the upcoming season, acquiring Russ was never their first choice.
The Lakers front office had expressed a deep desire to acquire 6x All-Star Damian Lillard. However, Lillard had publicly stated he had no plans of joining forces with another superstar. Dame Time has no intentions of leaving Portland.
The team would then knock on the door of the Phoenix Suns to make a deal for Chris Paul, with the Suns declining any offer and signing an extension with Paul. The Suns had made their first NBA Finals with CP3 since 1993. Thus they were not willing to part ways with their veteran point guard.
At the time, the Lakers considered acquiring Buddy Hield or DeMar DeRozan. However, none of the deals fell through, leading them to Mr. Triple-Double.
Buddy Hield could have been a better option for the LA Lakers.
There are no two ways about Westbrook being a superstar. However, considering his style of play, he might not be the right option for the 2020 NBA champions. The Lakers lack an efficient backcourt, especially when it comes to shooting.
Thus as far as Westbrook’s shooting goes, the 9x All-Star’s efficiency has dipped considerably over the years. The 2x scoring champion shot a dismal 31.5% from the 3-point line and 65.6% from the free-throw line the last season.
In what many believe, Buddy Hield would have been the perfect choice for LeBron James and co. The Sacramento guard is a marksman who can shoot from deep. The 28-year old was 39.1% from beyond the arc during the 2020-21 season.
A former 3-point contest winner, Hield would have added the perfect depth to the Lakers’ backcourt.
However, there is no denying that Westbrook is a major plus to the Lakers roster. The superstar has averaged a triple-double in three of his last four seasons. The former MVP shares a great relationship with LeBron James and would take a lot of load off the latter’s shoulders.
With the season only a couple of weeks away, the Lakers are confident of their chances. Westbrook has publicly acknowledged his need to sacrifice to win the chip.