Los Angeles Lakers star Russell Westbrook enters the 2022-23 campaign hoping for a fresh start, but he told reporters Saturday that he did not try to alter his shooting form during the offseason despite struggling in that department last season.
"The quality of shots is important. Making sure I’m not taking the bad ones is something I try to emphasize, attacking the basket," Westbrook said.
Westbrook struggled in his first season with the Lakers, averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4 percent from the floor and just 29.8 percent from deep in 78 games.
The 33-year-old's perimeter shooting struggles contributed to the Lakers lack of success in 2021-22, and the team understandably wants him to get better in that area in 2022-23 so it can return to being a title contender.
While Westbrook claims he didn't alter his shooting form, a report from The Athletic's Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Jovan Buha earlier this week noted the veteran point guard "slightly refined his shooting form this summer."
In addition, The Athletic reported that Westbrook's "catch-and-shoot 3-point percentage has been improved in workouts and scrimmages." However, that won't matter if it doesn't translate once the regular season begins.
Westbrook's best days are undoubtedly behind him, and at this point, the Purple and Gold would be lucky if he can somehow return to the player he was in his lone season with the Houston Rockets in 2019-20.
The nine-time All-Star averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 57 games while shooting 47.2 percent from the floor. Despite shooting 25.8 percent from deep during that season, it was his most efficient year in the last five seasons.
If Westbrook can't find his form this season, the Lakers can turn to Patrick Beverley or Dennis Schröder as their starting point guard. Beverley was acquired in a trade with the Utah Jazz, and LA signed Schröder last month.
Schröder previously served in a starting role for the Lakers during the 2020-21 season, averaging 15.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists while shooting 43.7 percent from the floor and 33.5 percent from deep in 61 games.