Russell Westbrook's fit with his new Lakers teammates hasn't been seamless, but Anthony Davis has encouraged him to play his game.
"Russ has to continue to do what he's doing no matter who's on the floor. To be himself," Davis told reporters. "I tell him before every game: 'Be nobody but yourself. That's why we brought you here.' I think a lot of times, he tries to go passive and to start passing the basketball, looking for other guys, which is great, but kind of takes him out of a rhythm. And he can do the same for guys while being aggressive."
Westbrook had 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in Tuesday's loss to the New York Knicks, perhaps his best game since arriving in Los Angeles this offseason. Twenty-five of those points came in the second half as the Lakers mounted an unsuccessful comeback after trailing by as many as 25 points.
Westbrook has been inconsistent over his first 19 games as a Lakers, averaging 19.9 points, 8.7 assists and 8.5 rebounds per game while shooting 43.6 percent from the floor. Concern over his fit with the roster seems valid, as Westbrook has been more comfortable leading the offense in games where LeBron James has been absent.
James was suspended for Tueday's game against the Knicks as punishment for a flagrant 2 foul on Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart.
The Lakers are just 9-10 as we approach the quarter mark of the 2021-22 season. Westbrook, Davis and James have played together only 140 minutes thus far, not nearly enough time for the trio to develop chemistry. It's promising the Lakers are 5-3 in games started by their Big Three, but this isn't the world-beating team fans hoped for when they acquired Westbrook.
None of the trio will be playing at their peak level until they're able to get an extended run of time on the floor together.