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Was Russell Westbrook a ‘Bad Fit’ for the Lakers?

by Michael Reynoso about a month ago in basketball
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After a horrible season, was Russell Westbrook a bad fit for the Lakers? Plus, a breakdown of Russ’ style of play and how it affected his team.

Before the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook with the agreement of both LeBron James and Anthony Davis, a lot of people have been speculating if Russ was a good fit for the team. As evidence of last season, we all concluded that Russ was never a good fit for the Lakers.

Here are the reasons why:

1. Selfishness

All Russ cares about is himself and how he plays. The careless decision-making when it comes to closing out games, committing unnecessary turnovers, and lack of perimeter shooting. Most of all, Russ wants to be the ball-hogger and play his style of basketball. In Russ’ entire NBA career, he was never deemed as a “selfless” player and became a liability when it mattered most.

For example, remember when the Oklahoma City Thunder, who was led by MVP Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, took on the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Western Conference Finals? When the Thunder was down 3–1, Russ had no choice but to play iso-ball while Durant gave up on the team (because of Draymond Green’s recruitment). As a result, ‘Game 6 Klay’ happened and the rest was history.

Russ was not the same.

Russ remained a Thunder until he requested a trade to the Houston Rockets. While he was busy team shopping, Durant collected 2 championships. There were a lot of ‘what ifs’ floating around, but the feeling never materialized.

2. No Expectations

During the Lakers’ season in a press conference, Russ blurted out that there were ‘no expectations’ of him coming to LA. Now, let’s backtrack a bit as to the reasons for his response. First, when Russ was with the Washington Wizards a couple of years ago, he mentioned that he doesn’t “need to win championships” and accepted his lot.

Then when Russ finally came home to LA and joined the Lakers, he didn’t have any expectations for himself. As a result, the entire team became a laughing stock of the NBA. If Russ only had expectations and worked on his shooting and decision-making, we would’ve seen the Lakers in the playoffs and possibly make it to the NBA Finals.

Nevertheless, Russ brought this attitude to Lakerland and he has no one to blame but himself.

3. Lack of Respect

Last and certainly not least, Russ never respected a coach’s game-time decision. Even though he respects a few coaches who taught him how to become a better NBA player, when it comes to X & O’s, Russ was never inclined to adjust. Besides Russ’ ability to get to the rim at will and attack the defense, he has no skill-set whatsoever.

When it comes to Russ’ perimeter game, he can’t get a shot off compared to his MVP days. Players are more willing to defend you from the 3-point range and force you to shoot at a higher rate. This is why Russ needs to work on his shooting, or else he will be on an island by himself. Last season, former Lakers coach Frank Vogel was supposed to bench Russ and allow him to play more freely.

After witnessing the calamity of losing games, Vogel should’ve noticed the signs then, but it’s too late. Hopefully, the next coach can figure out how to best use Russ in key situations.

Until then, it is the waiting game at this point.

Those are the reasons why Russell Westbrook is a ‘bad fit’ for the Lakers.

If you want to join the conversation, let me know in the comments about why Russ is a bad fit and how his game can be fixed.

Thank you for reading!

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Stay tuned for the next post and have a great day!

basketball

About the author

Michael Reynoso

Sports Writer | NBA watcher | LeBron fan | WWE fan | enjoy reading nonfiction books | Truth bombs

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