It took just one practice for Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis to realize that practices are going to be a little different this season.
Davis and his new point guard Russell Westbrook were all smiles in their post-practice press conference on Wednesday after what sounded like a firey session.
“That’s how we get better. We compete against each other. Talking s**t and all that,” Davis said. “That’s who we are. We have a lot of s**t talkers. It’s going to be a great year.”
Westbrook is likely a big factor in ramping up the practice intensity — and trash talk. The former MVP only has one gear and isn’t scared to share his opinion.
“It’s noticeable how different the speed looks, A, in front of you in practice, and B, on your side,” Lakers skipper Frank Vogel told Mike Trudell on Wednesday. “It’s really exciting. I’m going to be honest … he’s just a blur out there with his open court speed, and even half court downhill speed.
“His first practice, he was basically a paint-to-great factory all practice long. He was just getting in the paint and finding people either for lobs or for threes all practice long. It was very encouraging.”
Westbrook, Rondo Expect to Get After It in Practice
The Lakers reshaped the roster this offseason, with James, Davis and young gun Talen Horton-Tucker being the few holdovers. With such a veteran-laden roster, there is bound to be some history between the players as opposition, which is the case the Westbrook and veteran guard Rajon Rondo.
The two guards have done battle in the past and talked their fair share of trash to each other on the court. But now as teammates, they’ll keep that on the practice court.
“Russ and I, we’ve been competing for so long,” Rondo told reporters during Tuesday’s media day. “He’s one of the best, ultimate competitors I’ve played with in my career. I love competing against Russ. I know he’s going to bring it every night. I know he’s looking to destroy me. Likewise, I’m looking to destroy him.
“There’s no better feeling than to go out against someone that plays at a high level and is going to bring it.”
Russell Westbrook Wants to Push Anthony Davis
Davis is a supremely talented player, although his drive and ability to bring it every single night has been questioned on occasion. Westbrook rarely takes a possession off, let alone a game, so he should play a big part in keeping Davis focused.
“He’s one of a kind,” Westbrook said. “There’s nobody like him who can do everything he’s able to do at his size. And my job is to make sure I continue to push him each day, each practice, each game, so he can be at the top of his game each and every night.”
That’s something Davis is going to embrace.
“I like teammates who are going to push me,” Davis said. “Encouragement — I don’t need encouragement. I want to be pushed. I want guys to tell me when I’m messing up. Me and Russ had numerous conversations in this first practice alone about things we can do together as a duo when we’re both on the floor.”