When Russell Westbrook arrived at the Los Angeles Lakers over the offseason, it was considered a massive move and one that would spark the team into life after a rather limp season; it hasn’t proven to be quite as much of a success as many had hoped.
The 33-year-old was part of general manager Rob Pelinka’s overhaul plan and saw Westbrook form a fine trio with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but thus far, the nine-time All-Star pick is not impressing many with his displays.
The Lakers started the season as the second favorites for the NBA title with most sportsbooks, and their form has been so bad that they have tumbled down the betting and on www.sidelines.io, you’ll see they are now down to (+2000), and it’s likely that they’ll need to negotiate their way through the ‘play-in’ tournament if they want to extend their season.
Westbrook has been called upon to make more of a difference in recent games with both Davis and James out injured, and he initially stepped up to the plate but has fallen away again in recent games.
In the Lakers’ recent win over the New York Knicks, which Frank Vogel’s side managed to win, Westbrook’s display was so poor that the home fans booed him roundly, and to make matters worse, he was then benched by Vogel for the entire overtime period.
His performance was so poor that at one point, the Lakers fans were begging Westbrook not to shoot, which is the sign of quite a sorry state of affairs. Vogel was well aware that benching Westbrook isn’t a great look but explained his decision;
“That [fourth quarter] stretch was part of it,”
“I think obviously Russ was having a tough night on both sides of the ball, and Bron was really going. So I knew the ball was going to be in Bron’s hands, and I felt like we were going to get more from a defensive perspective and off-ball action with Talen, so … you just make tough decisions in the spirit of whatever; the team needs to win a game.”
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Russell Westbrook Comments
To Westbrook’s credit, he understood the frustration of the fans and the decision made by his coach, stating;
“The best part of this game is that you win,”
“Guys competed. We won the game, and that’s all that matters.” Before adding in relation to an earlier decision to pull him from the game against the Indiana Pacers;
“I just talked to [Vogel] about that I was upset about it,”
“But I was more upset I didn’t win the game. Not about when or how he would do it. But it doesn’t matter. Like I said, it’s not about me. I don’t want to make it about me. It’s more about our team and our guys. Tonight we got a good win and now move onto the next one.”
Westbrook knows that he needs to up his game, and the fact is that time is running out for the Lakers to reverse their current slide. At 26-28, their season very much hangs in the balance.