Last season was a disastrous one for the Los Angeles Lakers, and most of the blame fell on the shoulders of Russell Westbrook.
Just about the entire fan base has been calling for him to be traded since January, but the team hasn’t succeeded in doing so, at least not yet.
Thus, for better or worse, it is forging ahead and trying to make the most of Year 2 of the Westbrook experiment.
But during the Lakers’ first full day of training camp on Tuesday, there seemed to be a new energy and vibe surrounding the team, and it is emanating mostly from new head coach Darvin Ham.
Westbrook seems to like what has transpired so far, as well as Ham’s requests for sacrifice, hard work and defensive intensity.
Russell Westbrook on Darvin Ham’s first practice: “It’s always great to get a new coach’s energy.”
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) September 27, 2022
Russell Westbrook on Day 1 of practice: “Great. … Super exciting day.”
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) September 27, 2022
During media availability on Tuesday, the former league MVP not only echoed the new coach’s points of emphasis but based on his tonality and body language, he seems to be more optimistic, locked in and motivated.
The sights and sounds of Westbrook smiling and cackling, especially with the media, were pretty much non-existent last season.
He also admitted during the media session that Ham’s focus on playing fast and getting the team back to fast-break basketball is something he’s pleased with.
At this point, it is all talk, but there is a new feel and energy about this season’s Lakers, and at least for now, it’s refreshing to witness.