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Colin Cowherd Says Russell Westbrook Trade Elevates Lakers Ahead of Nuggets

Colin Cowherd: “I can’t believe they pulled this off. I can’t believe they got this much. They gave up an awful contract and one pick and they got two shooters in Malik Beasley and D’Angelo Russell. They also got rid of arguably the worst contract in the league and somebody who couldn’t play with LeBron in Russell Westbrook. The Lakers also needed versatile wing defenders, they just don’t have them, and they got two of those too. And I’m like ‘HOW??’ It is hard to make these trades. My takeaway for D’Angelo Russell is he didn’t work for the Warriors, and EVERYBODY works for the Warriors. He’s good for the rest of the season, he won’t end his career as a Laker, that is okay, you got OUT of the Westbrook contract! Ask yourself this morning as a Laker fan… If you just got out of the Westbrook contract and just got a bench shooter, you’d be like ‘we’re a better team.’ The Lakers are absolutely a playoff team today. LeBron always makes his shooters better. He did it with Battier and Mike Miller, he did it with Ray Allen, Kyrie. Even his bigs, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, have to sacrifice their game a little, but he gets them great looks. Outside of Magic Johnson, LeBron does as good a job of any guy with size I’ve ever seen getting teammates great shots. Malik Beasley is an excellent shooter, he’ll get the best shots of his life. D’Angelo Russell is a bit more streaky but he’ll get the best shots of his life. Westbrook got shots, he just couldn’t hit them.” (Full Segment Above)

Watch Colin Cowherd discuss the Los Angeles Lakers’ performance at the NBA’s Trade Deadline, as Colin thinks the Lakers trade removing Russell Westbrook from their roster skyrockets their chances in a modest and uncertain Western Conference.

Here were Colin’s updated rankings of the West after the dust settled Thursday afternoon:

8. Mavericks (30-26)

7. Kings (31-23)

6. Nuggets (38-17)

5. Lakers (25-30)

4. Grizzlies (33-21)

3. Clippers (31-27)

2. Warriors (28-27)

1. Suns (30-26)

"Phoenix and Golden State are one and two. I love their starting fives, rotations shrink in the playoffs, I don’t care that much about bench. Suns and Warriors have big stars, competent veteran coaches, complementary players to the stars – those feel like the two best teams in the West. The Clippers and the Grizzlies have more depth and I like both coaches, but they don’t quite have the star power and that matters in the playoffs. The refs swallow the whistles and the stars take control. Lakers and Nuggets next. I know everybody loves Denver. I get two players I love, LeBron and Jokic, but do I trust AD’s health or D’Angelo Russell? NO. He makes them better, I don’t think he makes them great. And the Nuggets, I know Jokic is great, but give me all the great playoff games I’ve gotten from Michael Porter and Jamal Murray? I don’t know about the complementary guys. Then the Kings and the Mavericks are great stories but I’m not convinced they’re great teams. Dallas is better, but man, defensively Luka and Kyrie can be completely worked in a long series.” (Full Segment Above)

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