ESPN ranks Lakers’ Russell Westbrook as 29th-best player in NBA

ESPN ranks Lakers’ Russell Westbrook as 29th-best player in NBA

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The Los Angeles Lakers were desperate for a third playmaker alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and they may have found their man in Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook represents a clear upgrade from former point guard Dennis Schroder, as the former league MVP is coming off a season where he averaged 22.2 points, 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds.

But the primary concern is if he can help space the floor. Westbrook is a career 30.5% 3-point shooter, which isn’t optimal to have when playing with James and Davis. James especially thrives most alongside consistent 3-point shooters.

Westbrook’s inability to stretch the floor has been a major knock on his overall talent, but he’s still one of the best point guards in the league at 32 years old.

Going into next season, ESPN ranked Westbrook as the 29th-best player in the league, just cracking the top 30:

One big question: Westbrook joins his third new team in as many seasons but this is the place the Los Angeles native wants to be. Westbrook made history last season by passing Oscar Robertson for most triple-doubles in history while helping will the Wizards to the playoffs. But now he comes to L.A. having to prove that his style of play can fit in with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Which of the Lakers’ Big Three will take a step back without the ball in his hands? Will the Lakers have enough shooters on the floor? And will they have enough defense? Of course, Westbrook and the Lakers are eager to answer these questions and prove doubters wrong. — Youngmisuk

Westbrook came in at No. 36 in ESPN’s 2020 ranking, so he progressed this year.

The L.A. native edged Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, who ranked No. 30.

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