July 3, 2022

How Russell Westbrook’s Game Improved Playing with LeBron James

For the first time since leaving Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook is back in an NBA playoff series. The All-Star point guard has been reunited with former teammate LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers after a summer blockbuster trade. And so far, it’s gone better than anyone could have hoped for both players and fans alike.

Following today’s Game 1 victory over Portland Trailblazers, Westbrook spoke to reporters about how his game has improved playing alongside one of the greatest players ever to play in this league. “Playing with LeBron helps my game,” he said. “I feel like I’m more efficient now because I’ve got somebody that can do things without me.”

Westbrook also had some advice for Lakers fans on how to make Staples Center a difficult place for visiting teams. “Y’all need to show up and just be as loud as possible,” he said. And then, the man who once broke Oscar Robertson’s triple-double record added: “I think y’all can break it.”

Westbrook didn’t stop there when it came to chirping at his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. “I’m not sure what’s happening in OKC,” he said before adding that they’re probably just trying to figure out who they are right now. “And who am I?”

When asked if he thinks the Thunder are missing him, Westbrook said, “I don’t know. Are they?”

From the moment the Lakers traded for Westbrook this summer, he has maintained that winning is all that mattered to him. But it’s clear now that the move to LA was about more than just basketball. The city of Los Angeles hadn’t had a basketball team to cheer for in years. And the fact that Westbrook is part of this team has made him more popular than ever.

Before today’s game even tipped off, fans were chanting “MVP” when he was on the bench warming up. That didn’t stop once he hit the court either. Every time he touched the ball, Staples Center was on their feet hoping he would do something special.

If this is what it feels like to be the face of an NBA franchise, than Westbrook couldn’t be happier with his new home in Los Angeles. If you think LeBron was excited for today’s game – just wait until next time – when Westbrook gets to play another former team: the Houston Rockets.

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