Russell Westbrook was supposed to propel the Los Angeles Lakers back into contention for the NBA title. However, he was unable to connect with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the rest of the team, and so underperformed substantially.
Westbrook was unable to adapt his game to fit Davis and LeBron, which cost the Lakers dearly during the season. Davis recently pointed this out during a recent interview.
He said that Westbrook has previously been challenged with carrying the offense as the primary option in Oklahoma City, Houston, and Washington. But the Lakers didn’t need Westbrook to be that way; he needed to change his game and adapt to the team’s approach, just like LeBron and Davis did when they came.
Westbrook’s struggling performance
In terms of statistics, the former MVP leads the Lakers in practically every category this season, including assists (550), rebounds (580), steals (75), free throws made (266), double-doubles (28), and triple-doubles (28). (10). With 1,441 points, he is also second only to LeBron.
Russell Westbrook led the lakers in almost every stat this season
2nd in PTS (1441 points)
1st in AST (550)
1st in REB (580)
1st in STL (75)
1st in DEF REB (470)
2nd in OFF REB (110)
1st in FTs Made (266)
1st in DD (28)
1st in TD (10)
And he was brought to be the 3rd option pic.twitter.com/P6DOZRo0ix
— hoopsdontstop 🗯 (@hoopsdontstop) April 9, 2022
So, Westbrook was a big help to the Lakers this season. Despite the injuries, controversy, and media scrutiny, Russ showed up and delivered. Unfortunately, putting up high numbers has never been an issue for Westbrook. The man becomes a problem to the team in other ways. His effectiveness alone gives us a whole different view of his performance this season.
He ranks 13th on the Lakers in field goal percentage at 44 percent, 13th in three-point percentage at 29.8 percent, 15th in free throw percentage at 66.7 percent, and first in turnovers with a total of 295.
Westbrook, in reality, has two sides. While he can load the stat sheet at any time, his greatest challenges have always been playing efficiently and making the proper judgments on the floor.
Davis’ advice for Westbrook
“People see things when Russ was in OKC and D.C. and how he played. Two totally different teams — well, three totally different teams,” said Davis.
I asked Anthony Davis about Russell Westbrook's often turbulent relationship with fans this season, how he and LeBron had communicated with him, and if he thought it could be healed. Davis' response was four minutes long, and he wrapped up with this point on Russ' role: pic.twitter.com/8o30BXvqhi
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) April 11, 2022
“Russ, how he was in OKC, having triple-doubles we necessarily didn’t need that this year. The same way he played in D.C.: Brad Beal was out, so it was only Russ and they put guys around him. We didn’t need that Russ.
“So everybody — when I got here, I didn’t play the same way I played with Bron. Bron had to change, everybody had to change. Everybody had to make sacrifices. It was tough for him (Westbrook) to adjust to that,” he added.
However, Davis did admit that it was tough for Westbrook to learn how to adjust with them because the three of LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook played so rarely together.
Injuries played a significant impact on the Lakers’ season, with many feeling that the club would have performed better if all of its stars had been available.
Russell Westbrook’s future in the Lakers remains uncertain. Westbrook’s $47 million player option is anticipated to be exercised. However, the Charlotte Hornets have reportedly expressed interest in the former MVP, so it is worth keeping an eye on the issue and if the deal goes through.
Having said that, the knives are out for the Lakers following a disastrous 2021-22 season. It is likely that either Davis or Westbrook would share the floor with LeBron, whose current deal keeps him in Los Angeles through the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.