Move over LeBron James and Anthony Davis and make room for the fierce fire that Russell Westbrook will bring to the Lakers when the 2021-22 NBA season tips off on Oct. 19 at Staples Center.
AD couldn’t stay on the court enough last year for the Lakers to have a chance and as great as LeBron is he’s closer to the end of his career than his electric beginning.
Nonetheless, the goal has not changed with the Lakers. It’s championship or bust for Frank Vogel and his revamped coaching staff that lost Jason Kidd to the Dallas Mavericks and added former Fremont High School star David Fizdale.
The reinforcements to the squad are significant. There is of course Westbrook, the former pride of Leuzinger High School and UCLA and then an upgrade to the front court in former Westchester star Trevor Ariza.
Ariza is a stabilizing force they should have acquired two years ago at the latest, but the veteran is still a capable defender and reliable three point threat.
That’s wasn’t enough for the Lakers to bring home to boys from the hood, they also brought back Dwight Howard again and added the ultra one dimensional DeAndre Jordan who bailed on Brooklyn to come back to LA.
The Purple and Gold will open at home with the Warriors on Oct. 19 and the return of Klay Thompson, NBA finalist Phoenix on Oct. 22 which they asked for and could not beat to advance in the playoffs, up start Memphis on Oct. 24 and for back-to-back road games at San Antonio and OKC.
Meanwhile, the Clippers can’t move into the Intuit Dome in Inglewood soon enough.
Paul George knows that this is his team now. Kawhi Leonard is not coming back any time soon, so head coach Tyronn Lue will have to keep working his magic and hope for continued improvement from guards Terance Mann and Luke Kennard.
The return of “Fash” Eric Bledsoe will add proven depth to a backcourt that over acheieved last year.
Reggie Jackson is a bonafide scoring machine, a bucket getter, but he needs the help Bledsoe can bring.
Marcus Morris keeps at least one bad boy twin in LA, and Nicolas Batum is a steady veteran presence and reliable as they come.
Step Curry and the Flash Brothers at Staples on Oct. 21, followed by Ja Morant and Memphis on Oct. 23, Portland and the great Damian Lillard on Oct. 25 and the local debut of former USC great Evan Mobley and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 27.
I’ve got illusions of grandeur, but I have been quite delusional before.