Austin Rivers firmly believes that all of Russell Westbrook’s failures with the Los Angeles Lakers were strictly the team’s fault.
The Los Angeles Clippers added Westbrook after an NBA Trade Deadline move that saw him shipped off to the Utah Jazz and subsequently bought out.
Thus far, they are winless since bringing him onboard.
Despite that, Rivers firmly believes that Westbrook is an excellent fit with the Clippers.
“I think it’s a great fit, honestly,” he told NBA insider Tomer Azarly. “I like it. They got rid of a lot of guards. They got rid of Reggie and John and you add Russell, so they needed a point guard, it’s just a natural fit.”
As far as Westbrook playing poorly for the Lakers over the course of a year and change – Rivers believes that wasn’t his fault.
“You know how that is over there on that team,” he said.
“They’re gonna find an answer and it ain’t gonna be some other people. It’s gonna be him. I think Russ was just a person at the wrong place at the wrong time and the wrong situation. He played well, the guy’s a first ballot of Hall-of-Famer.
“They asked him to come off the bench, no problems, comes off the bench, has a good energy about it, good attitude about it, what else do y’all want from the man? They got a lot of things going wrong in terms of like why they weren’t winning before. It wasn’t just Russ.”
It will be interesting to see if Rivers’ assertion proves to be correct. So far, the Lakers seem to be playing noticeably better without Westbrook.
The Clippers, meanwhile, can’t win with him.
Kawhi Leonard’s recent comments on the matter speak for themselves.
Hard to believe Luka just turned 24. Feels like he has been dominating the NBA for a decade. https://t.co/qTSw1H9Cor
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 2, 2023
Obviously it could very well be the case that the Lakers were the problem, not Westbrook.
But currently, it doesn’t look like that is the case.
Will Rivers eventually be vindicated with his thoughts on the matter? An answer one way or the other will emerge at some point throughout the rest of the season.