Why Russell Westbrook isn’t worried about his abundance of turnovers

Lakers star Russell Westbrook, center, loses control of the ball against Phoenix's Chris Paul.
Lakers star Russell Westbrook, center, loses control of the ball against Phoenix guard Chris Paul, left, during the Lakers’ preseason loss Sunday at Staples Center.
(Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

Russell Westbrook looked at the stat sheet, the one with the “9” in the column for turnovers near the right margin of the page.

If it was June, he’d have winced. If it was March, he would’ve groaned. But because it was just the Lakers’ fourth preseason game, he laughed.

“Good thing they don’t count,” he said with a smile. “So, I could turn that [expletive] over 15 times — ain’t nobody going to do nothing about it.”


Will Lakers stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook play at the same time at any point this preseason? It didn’t happen in Sunday night’s loss, but Davis says the wait ends Tuesday.

Oct. 10, 2021

Westbrook laughed because he knows he’s got the fix — a dunk in the paint here, a big scoring game there and opposing defenses can honor his scoring threat instead of sitting and waiting for him to try and facilitate for his new teammates.

“Normally I’m so used to guys on other teams playing me to score. Now they play me to pass a lot, which is different for me. But I’ll figure it out. It’s just some easy reads for me. Once I dunk a few, people will start coming and helping, and I’m there diming,” Westbrook said without any worry. “It’s up to me to be that. I’m just kind [of] predetermining my passes, and they’re just waiting and baiting me. …It’s an easy, literally easy, fix for me, and I’ll figure it out.”

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he’s not worried about Westbrook’s turnovers in his first two preseason appearances — 15 in two games — because they’ve been errors with the proper intent.

“He’s trying. He’s trying hard to distribute, to get his teammates involved, to play extra-pass basketball like we’re asking him to,” Vogel said. “New set of teammates, new system — it’s going to take some time. Not worried about it.”

The Lakers will likely have their main three players — Westbrook, Anthony Davis and LeBron James — on the court together for the first time this preseason on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors. It’ll be another opportunity for the Lakers to move closer to figuring things out — even if no one expects them to get all the way there any time soon.

“I mean, listen, we got time,” Westbrook said. “Like I said, it’s not even the start of the season yet. This don’t even count. So there’s no need to even wrap your head around what you’re seeing, if that’s something you’re looking forward to. But obviously it’s definitely important to get all of us on the floor so we can figure it out.”


Russell Westbrook showed rust and struggled in his preseason debut with LeBron James and the Lakers, who lost 121-114 at Golden State on Friday night.

Oct. 8, 2021