Lakers News: Russell Westbrook Refused to Regularly Set Screens for LeBron James

Lakers forward LeBron James loves his on-ball screens, but guard Russell Westbrook didn’t seem on-board

Lakers players Russell Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis recently held a phone call meeting together to discuss their upcoming season to make sure they were on the same page for championships aspirations. In the midst of all the rumors among the team, it seemed like the three reach a threshold and built chemistry moving forward. 

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This wasn’t the first time a meeting between the star players happened. Newly acquired Westbrook had a conversation with James after their first game together in what may have looked like a discussion over the amount of screens Westbrook was setting (quotes via Zach Lowe, The Lowe Post Podcast)

“You can tell they had a team meeting about Russ screening for LeBron before the second game of the season against the Memphis Grizzlies. Screened 8 times for Lebron in that game, it worked pretty well.”

James is well known for getting on-ball screens to help create more driving lanes to the basket, disrupt the defense to pick up James at the 3-point line while simultaneously providing open passing lanes. Westbrook did not shoot great from the 3-point line so having him roll after picks seemed ideal.

“After that game, here are the number of ball screens Russ set in the 6 subsequent games, this is from Second Spectrum 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, and 1. He did not set more than 2 in a basketball game in which the professional Los Angeles Lakers were involved until March. He didn’t set more than 4 in any other game in the entire season.”

From the numbers, it didn’t seem Westbrook felt fitting of setting on-ball screens. Westbrook has always been a fiery player, but with the little that has gone right for him since the regular season this could be a key indicator for their poor chemistry. 

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