Russell Westbrook is working hard this offseason after being in the spotlight of trade rumors for basically the entirety of the summer break. It started with Westbrook being linked to the Brooklyn Nets for Kyrie Irving and evolved into other teams like the Indiana Pacers, Charlotte Hornets, and now, the Utah Jazz.
Many people doubt Westbrook's fit on the Lakers after what we saw last season. He hasn't dedicated himself to being a better team player and improves his 3-pointer for the inevitable open shots LeBron James creates for his teammates. His inconsistent jumper, coupled with his inability to take a smaller role, has limited his progress in LA.
This summer, Westbrook has been spotted in the gym multiple times, primarily working on improving his jump shot. Another clip of Westbrook draining a variety of 3-pointers has been shared, showing that Russ may be ready to give the Lakers the floor-spacing they desperately need.
Will Russell Westbrook Improving His Jumper Be Enough?
Many people have held on to Westbrook needing to improve his jumper as the biggest criticism of his play last season. Traditionally, all championship-contending LeBron teams have players that can space the floor. If Westbrook wants to have extended minutes on the court, especially alongside LeBron, he needs to be a better shooter.
The Lakers have had very real talks with respect to moving Russ, and it's been evident all season long. Will Russ making his shots at the start of the season finally take him off the trade table? He shot 29.8% from 3 on 3.4 attempts last season.
Considering the backcourt options the Lakers have, none of them are spot-up shooters. Westbrook going from under 30% to even 35% would be a huge improvement. Whether it'll be improvement enough to ensure his LA stay doesn't end in 2022-23 is something we will have to wait and see play out on the court.