The Los Angeles Lakers are in a bad spot right now. Sitting at 21-22 and eighth in the West, this group feels like it’s heading nowhere fast.
Most recently, LA fell in embarrassing fashion to the Denver Nuggets 133-96. Somehow even that final score doesn’t fully encapsulate how poorly the team played that night.
After the fact, various members of the Lakers were understandably upset.
During a postgame session with reporters, Russell Westbrook called out his teammates.
“We have to be able to do it if we want to win games,” Westbrook said. “We have to be scrappy and play harder. We have to be tough and we haven’t shown that.”
Westbrook’s assessment was obviously correct, but it does hit a bit different when he is the one offering it. The 33-year-old has been an absolute disaster for most of this year. Much of the team’s woes can be attributed to his poor play. There’s a reason why he was recently publicly confronted with the question of whether he regrets coming to LA.
That said, Westbrook was actually one of the Lakers’ better players in that humiliating defeat to Denver. He ended the game with 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and amazingly — 0 turnovers. And yet, somehow, he still finished with a +/- of -11 and the Lakers got smashed.
One person who isn’t with the Russell Westbrook slander is his brother, Ray. He appeared on Twitter recently to defend his sibling.
(Part 2) of Westbrooks brother speaking
Sorry I was typing cause it was insane pic.twitter.com/7LnbZQ2ez3
— (Raquel) KOBE (@SOULbeautifulme) January 16, 2022
“This is the thing. Y’all think y’all know what’s going on with people here, but y’all don’t,” he said.
“Y’all wanna talk about – there never been an article about Russell and what goes on behind closed doors. Listen bro listen, I’m not disagreeing with you, I never disagreed with nobody, but my thing is this. I’m not gonna let anybody come around here and just try to slander my brother. That’s not what’s gonna happen. And I don’t care who it is, that’s not gonna happen.”
Part of the issue with Westbrook’s poor play is that LA sacrificed a lot to get him. There were other players available who the team passed on to acquire him.
Sacramento Kings three-point specialist Buddy Hield recently revealed how close he came to joining the squad. Also, DeMar DeRozan has been very vocal regarding the shifty set of conditions that led to him almost becoming a Laker, before eventually joining the Chicago Bulls.
The hope was that Westbrook would be able to deliver on the faith the Lakers’ front office had in him. To date, he hasn’t. Instead, he has barely been on Hield’s level and DeRozan is off having an MVP campaign.
It’s hard to see where the Lakers go from here.
Who knows where that will lead.
That aside, LA is one of four sqiads trying very hard for a Myles Turner deal, but it continues to be up in the air whether will go as planned. They also talked to two different squads about something centering around Westbrook, but obviously nothing has happened on that front yet.
Paige Spiranac’s brutal 16-word message to the Dallas Cowboys. https://t.co/lCUBEUlkVl
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 17, 2022
It will be interesting to see where things go from here.
If the Lakers can get something done, and quickly, this season is still somewhat salvageable. Should nothing materialize, though – it will only get uglier from here.