The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2021-22 NBA season widely regarded as championship contenders. It was them and the Brooklyn Nets.
By the time the season wrapped, L.A. couldn’t even qualify for the playoffs.
A big reason that everyone acknowledged was responsible for the Lakers’ struggles was the offseason acquisition of Russell Westbrook. He just couldn’t mesh with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Recently, NBA legend Tracy McGrady offered his thoughts on how the Lakers fix what ailed them last season.
“I don’t like that group, I don’t like Russ, Bron, and AD, I don’t like that trio,” he said.
“I love Russ as a player, but I don’t like him with those two. Because both of them need the ball. Russ to me is not a guy that you just put in the corner… Russ needs the ball. … The only way it’s gonna work, Russ has gotta come off the bench. That’s the only way to work bro. With them in the starting lineup together… I’m talking about for it to work, I don’t see him doing it.”
Given how Westbrook responded when former Lakers head coach Frank Vogel offered him even mild critique, it’s hard to see him coming off the bench.
Lakers brass delivered a pretty blunt message to new head coach Darvin Ham regarding Westbrook when they hired him. He has to make that relationship work somehow.
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 26, 2022
Whether that will be by making Westbrook come off the bench remains to be seen.
Either way, it’s clear that what L.A. tried last season didn’t work. Something needs to change.
Will Westbrook be more open to that change this year than he was last?
Time will tell.