The Los Angeles Lakers hoped that the offseason acquisition of Russell Westbrook would catapult them into championship contention.
Instead, the move had the opposite effect.
Westbrook has been a terrible fit all season, but he has been especially awful as of late. In the nine games since the All-Star Break he is shooting an egregious 9.1 percent from behind the arc. In the same span he has also averaged 16.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game.
A far cry from the triple-double that he was once known for.
Worse yet, beyond just stinking it up on the floor, Westbrook is also sapping all enthusiasm and will to win from his teammates (and coaches for that matter). Nothing illustrated this better than a recent sequence where LeBron James didn’t even bother getting back on defense after two consecutive airballs by Westbrook.
One of the defining storylines over the past couple of weeks has been Westbrook’s defiance regarding Lakers fans calling him out for bad play. He has complained about it at length, as has his wife.
Interestingly enough, in a recent session with the media, James seemed to take the opposite point of view.
“The Laker faithful know when bad basketball is being played, and they know when good basketball is being played. They have the right to have any response they want,” James said.
It’s easy to see why many view the comment as a low key shot at Westbrook and his constant whining.
Is it one? That’s for everyone to decide on their own.
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 14, 2022
All that being said, it is important to remember that James (and maybe his son Bronny) is responsible for Westbrook ending up in LA. So in some ways this is poetic justice. In others, though – it’s just plain hard to watch.
The Lakers are in bad shape right now. Clearly Westbrook is a goner come the offseason, but it’s a shame that his botched acquisition ended up costing all parties involved a season of James’ career.
Related: 1 NBA Team Lakers’ LeBron James Refuses To Play For