Russell Westbrook has received a great deal of backlash for the 2021/22 NBA season. He hasn’t clicked with the Los Angeles Lakers, struggling from beyond the arc and giving the ball away over frequently.
Westbrook’s game has been a rollercoaster throughout the first half of the season. It has had plenty of highs and lows for him, but the athlete has seen more terrible than good. His shooting woes have been a source of worry for his franchise once again, and the Lakers seem to want to find a solution before it’s too late.
However, one statistic suggests that Westbrook is outperforming other league talents. He’s dealing with his 3-point shooting like he always does, but his field goals are rising.
His 43.7 field goal percentage is higher than that of six other players who are regarded as better shooters than him, like Jason Tatum, LaMelo Ball, Paul George, James Harden, Stephen Curry, and Damian Lillard.
REPORTER: "I think there was a sense that people didn't know if you still had that."
RUSS: "Yeah, that’s people’s problem."
Russ & LeBron's postgame comments about Westbrook's poster dunk on Gobert pic.twitter.com/PFswqbXveC
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 18, 2022
Draymond Green supported Russell Westbrook in an episode of “The Volume” posted to YouTube on Wednesday. He defended Westbrook in the video, stating that the Lakers’ problems are not the guard’s fault and that he must not be chastised as a result.
He said: “I don’t like how Russell Westbrook gets all of the blame for everything going wrong. It’s just not possible that one guy is to blame for everything going wrong.”
Throughout the video, Draymond seeks to dispel trade rumors swirling around Los Angeles. He went on to say that even if the Lakers made a move, Russell Westbrook must not be traded.
“Obviously there are a lot of Russell Westbrook trade talks … the reality is, I’m not sure Russell Westbrook gets traded … Nor do I think it really should happen. You haven’t really had the opportunity to see that team healthy and how they could grow together healthy,” he explained.
With 24 wins and 24 losses, the Lakers currently sit in eighth place in the Western Conference. The Purple and Gold were widely expected to be immediate playoff contenders following the number of trades they made prior to the 2021-22 NBA regular season.
Draymond weighs in on the Westbrook trade rumors pic.twitter.com/xZeB4cGK56
— The Volume (@TheVolumeSports) January 26, 2022
Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook, Kent Bazemore, Talen-Horton Tucker, Malik Monk, Kendrick Nunn, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, and Dwight Howard all signed new contracts with the Lakers on August 6, 2021.
The story went that LeBron James assembled a team with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony in order to win a championship. Long-time teammates on and off the court, Russ and Melo joining the Lakers was an exciting prospect for Lakers fans everywhere. It was supposed to be a high-profile season.
Admittedly, the opposite has occurred. As a result, Russell Westbrook has received a lot of attention. However, as Draymond Green explained, it is impossible to pin all of the blame on a single player.
Russell Westbrook is shooting 43.8% from the field this season. That's better than these players:
Jayson Tatum: 42.7%
LaMelo Ball: 42.4%
Paul George: 42.1%
James Harden: 42%
Stephen Curry: 41.6%
Damian Lillard: 40.2%
(h/t @FadeawayWorld) pic.twitter.com/jWFqnDuxiH
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 27, 2022
This season, Westbrook has averaged 18.6 points per game while shooting 43.7 percent from the field and only 29.6 percent from three-point range. The guard must return to his old style of play — the style in which he excels.
Westbrook’s basketball style is regarded as one that no other player on the Lakers bench can offer, so he evidently has something unique to offer on the court. When a player with such a high basketball IQ, such as Draymond Green, praises Russ and defends him, one begins to wonder where the fault truly lies.