Russell Westbrook
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The Lakers are off to an 0-4 after losing to the Denver Nuggets and the quality of basketball they're playing leaves very little reason to be optimistic. After winning a championship just three seasons ago, the only Lakers from that roster that remain are LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Since those 3 seasons, injuries and roster turnover have dramatically changed the Lakers' outlook.

Here are the three reasons the Lakers' season could be in jeopardy:

  1. Lack Of Shooting

The Lakers have built this roster with no real concept of fit or the formula that has won LeBron James 4 championships in his career. The Lakers are built around three players (LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook) who all thrive around the rim, whose role players want to get to the rim, and yet have zero shooting around them. The lanes are clogged and teams are just sinking into the paint forcing non-shooters to shoot.

Through four games James is averaging 8.8 three-point attempts a game, which would be the most of his career. It’s a clear result of James being the team’s best three-point shooter and there being no driving lanes for him to penetrate. The same goes for Anthony Davis, who is also averaging the most three-point attempts of his career. These are red flags and show that the Lakers are in real trouble.

2. The Russell Westbrook Issue

The Lakers took a massive swing for the fences when they traded for Russell Westbrook. They gambled when they gave up proven role players in the hopes that Westbrook could be their third star. The fit is just awkward. Both he and LeBron need the ball in their hands to thrive and Westbrook is not effective off the ball. He struggles to shoot, cut, and screen, all of which are essential to being a good off-ball player.

Maybe there’s still a world that exists where Westbrook can help the Lakers off the bench, but that experiment hasn’t been tried yet. This roster is the worst possible context for a player like Westbrook and it’s shown in his time in LA.

3. No Deals Would Vault Them Into Title Contention

There isn’t a single deal available to the Lakers that would put them into the title conversation. The Utah Jazz have a slew of veterans like Jordan Clarkson, Mike Conley, Malik Beasley, and Rudy Gay, but the Lakers have so many holes that it’s hard to imagine those guys being able to make up that difference.

The Pacers have Buddy Hield and Myles Turner who would certainly be huge upgrades to the Lakers roster, but are they worth giving up two first-round picks if they aren’t guaranteed to make the Lakers contenders? There just isn’t a deal right now that can help the plethora of issues plaguing the Lakers right now. There’s very little reason to be optimistic about the Lakers right now.

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