The Los Angeles Lakers are nearing the end of their first official week of practice, heading into their first preseason game on Sunday against the Brooklyn Nets. Spirits are high in the practice facility, evidenced by all the smiling faces seen. There’s been plenty of smiles seen from new Laker Russell Westbrook, as you can see below.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) September 30, 2021
However, we all know that once it’s “go time”, Westbrook is going to be a ruthless monster on the court each and every night of this 82-game season. It’s something he’s known for and is something that Westbrook will hopefully bring to every player on the roster given how lethargic the Lakers looked at times on the court last season.
One player who should benefit from this is Anthony Davis, who Westbrook spoke about as he sat next to him after practice on Thursday.
“I mean, AD is a special talent and obviously the whole world knows it and the league knows it. One of a kind. There’s nobody like him that can do everything that he’s able to do at his size. My job is to make sure I continue to push him each day, each practice, each game so we can be at the top of his game each and every night. He’s been in this league a long time so he understands how to play the game. He knows when he needs to turn up and I know now he wants to turn up so it’s my job to make sure that he does that every single night.”
Anthony Davis confirmed that this is nothing that will bother him, in fact, he stated that he welcomes this type of push from his teammates.
“I mean it’s good. I like teammates who want to push me… I want guys to you know tell me when I’m messing up. Me and Russ had numerous times conversations in this first practice alone about things that we can do together as a duo when we’re both on the floor. That’s what I want and I got six, seven guys that’s going at it. Russ, Bron, Do, (Melo), DJ, Dwight. I got numerous guys that’s always in my ear about things. You can’t ask for more you know as a player who wants to get better.”
Those quotes have to be music to any Lakers fan’s ears. Westbrook’s energy will hopefully be infectious all season, and it would be great for that energy to infect AD the most (sorry for using the term “infect” during a global pandemic). Although his last season was out of his hands due to the injuries he faced, Davis also seemed to be going through the motions at the beginning of the season. Even if it was due to Davis trying to conserve his energy given the short turnaround from the 2020 NBA Finals or if he started the season injured, you want your superstars to be giving it their all each and every night.
It’s also awesome to hear how receptive Davis is to criticism. Although Davis has been a terror in the NBA for some years now, he’s still only 28 years old with plenty of prime years left as well as plenty of stuff to learn from his older counterparts. He already had a great mentor in the form of LeBron James, but with Russell Westbrook and the other veterans in tow now, there’s no shortage of new tidbits that Davis can learn in his pursuit to becoming an even better player.