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Frank Vogel explains Russell Westbrook's ugly preseason debut with Lakers

Yardbarker logo Yardbarker 10/9/2021 Charles Kruger, Game 7
Russell Westbrook's Lakers debut did not go well for him. © Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports Russell Westbrook's Lakers debut did not go well for him.

Russell Westbrook made his highly anticipated Los Angeles Lakers debut on Friday night. It did not go well for him.

Westbrook finished with two points, seven rebounds, four assists and six turnovers on 1-of-7 shooting in 17 minutes of action, and L.A. ended up falling 121-114 to the Golden State Warriors.

Four of Westbrook’s six turnovers came in roughly a one-minute span.

After the game, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel offered one very simple explanation for Westbrook’s struggles: He was trying to be too unselfish.

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"Really good energy, it was good to see them play in a real game together for the first time,” Vogel said of Westbrook and James. “To be expected, there was some rust and there was some growing pains, an adjustment period is something we expect with those guys.

“But I thought both of them played with great energy and I thought Russ was even trying to create or play unselfishly too much on a couple possessions that led to some of his turnovers. But playing the right way, we’ll live with that. So overall a good start.”

The Lakers are obviously going all-in this year. Westbrook’s acquisition was indicative of that, as he is on the books for $44 million this season and $47 million next season.

Anthony Davis committing to a full body transformation over the summer was pretty indicative of that, too. The question now is whether L.A. will be able to put it all together.

Overall this team has a lot of individual players who have enjoyed success at various points in their careers, but not necessarily folks who are the peak of their playing abilities. That coupled with their advanced age is a high-risk, high-reward proposition.

Either the Lakers will be very successful in 2021-22, or they’ll flame out in dramatic fashion.

Which will it ultimately be? Time will tell.

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