The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly looking to acquire a veteran point guard this off-season. Marc Stein stated on July 13th that the team is hoping to find a point guard to shift LeBron James and Anthony Davis to a more frequent power forward and center duo. One of the early options the team is looking at is Washington Wizards’ star, Russell Westbrook.
The team has contemplated offering Washington Dennis Schröder, Kyle Kuzma, and Talen Horton-Tucker. Unfortunately, there are multiple issues with this potential trade. The first obstacle is that the Lakers cannot trade Dennis Schröder without his permission as he is an unrestricted free agent. If Schröder declines to go to Washington, it is much harder for the team to acquire Westbrook.
Let’s take a look at why Russell Westbrook is not the right point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, and who the Lakers should acquire instead.
The second roadblock to this potential trade is that Westbrook isn’t a good fit in the Lakers’ offense. Point guards have to spend a significant amount of their minutes in the Lakers’ offense as floor spacers.
The Lakers run an offensive system centered around post-ups and pick and rolls. The team was 2nd in pick and rolls during the 2019-20 season, averaging 8.8 per game. Davis and James accounted for 85.7 percent of the team’s post-ups as they averaged 7.7 per game.
On the other hand, the team was 25thin pick and rolls, averaging 16.6 per game. James accounted for 42.2 percent of those possessions, averaging 7 per game. Therefore, most of the other Laker players spent most of the minutes as floor spacers.
For instance, Rajon Rondo and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope took over 38 percent of the shots from behind the arc, averaging 2.6 and 3.5 per game, respectively. At least 50 percent of those threes were catch and shoots as they attempted 1.3 and 3 per game, respectively.
Los Angeles didn’t change their offense during their following season as they were 2nd in post-ups, averaging 9.3 per game. Davis and James accounted for 88.2 percent of those possessions, averaging 8.2 per game.
On the other hand, they were 27th in pick and rolls, averaging 16.6 per game. James accounted for 33.1 percent of those possessions, averaging 5.5 per game. Consequently, most of the Lakers’ role players had to play the role of floor spacers, once again.
Before Anthony Davis suffered right Achilles tendinosis in the 28th game of the season, Schröder and Caldwell-Pope averaged 3.2 and 3.6 threes per game, respectively. At least 70 percent of those threes were catch and shoots as they attempted 2.3 and 2.8 per game, respectively.
Unfortunately, Westbrook does not have the skillset to thrive as a role player as he has only made 33.1 percent of his catch and shoot threes on 1.6 attempts per game. Catch and shoots accounted for 33.3 percent of his attempts, as he has shot 30.7 percent from behind the arc since 2013 on 4.8 shots per game.