Huge trade Seems To Be Beneficial To Lakers

DAngelo Russell when he was on the Nets

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D’Angelo Russell when he was on the Nets

The Los Angeles Lakers have been nothing better than mediocre in the 2022-23 season. They are 13th of 15 teams in the Western Conference of the NBA. As of Feb. 13, the Lakers had a disappointing record of 26-32. The team needed some major changes if they wanted to win again, and they seem to have done just that.

When Russell Westbrook first went to the Lakers, fans were excited and thought that Westbrook would have somewhat of a career revival in Los Angeles, but this certainly did not happen. His points per game in both seasons with the Lakers was well below his career average, and in 2022 he had the second-fewest points per game in his career. Sure, he helped a little bit, but fans expected the Lakers to be a super team with Lebron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook on the lineup. 

So it was time for Westbrook to go. The Lakers traded him away to the Jazz for D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley. The Lakers also had to give up a 2027 first-round pick. Many people were shocked that the Lakers made this trade, but others felt like it needed to happen. 

So what have been the effects of the trade? As of Feb. 28, the Lakers are 3-0 since the trade. D’Angelo Russell had a promising first game with the Lakers, but hurt his right foot in his second game as a Laker and didn’t finish out the game. He also missed the next game against the Dallas Mavericks. 

Right now it looks pretty good for the Lakers.

The other players that the Lakers acquired are doing great though. Jarred Vanderbilt is coming off a 15-point game vs. the Mavericks. He was 6-8 from the field and 1-1 from three. Vanderbilt helped come back from a 28-point deficit against the Mavs. 

Malik Beasley is also doing well. Against the Warriors, he made an astounding 7 three-pointers. He was 7-11 from three. He put up 25 points and seemed unstoppable against the Warriors, using their own trick against them with all of the three-point shots.

Right now it looks pretty good for the Lakers. They are on a 3-game win streak and just had the largest comeback win of the season. But there is still one thing they have to worry about. In the game against the Mavs, Lebron landed on his right ankle wrong when coming down to the ground after missing a shot. He clutched at it in pain on the court and was on the ground. The Lakers came out and said that they expect him to be sidelined for at least 2 weeks. 

D’Angelo Russell is also out with an ankle injury. He has already missed the last 2 games and is questionable to return for the game against the Thunder. 

Currently, the Lakers’ biggest problem is injuries. If they can stay healthy, they have a pretty strong team. People got to see what a beat-up Lakers team looked like on Feb. 28 in the game against the Grizzlies. They lost by 12, and really the only bright spot of the team was Anthony Davis with 28 points and 19 rebounds.

If the Lakers manage to stay healthy in the future, their playoff hopes are very much alive. The game against the Thunder on Mar. 1 is crucial to stay out of the No. 13 spot in the Western Conference.