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After a decent 19 points in Tuesday’s regular season opener against the defending champs Golden State Warriors, on Thursday Russell Westbrook followed up with a cringeworthy 0-11 shooting performance, and 2 total points in the span of 27 NBA minutes.
While the Lakers were competitive on Thursday evening against their in-city rivals, Los Angeles Clippers, Westbrook’s predictable misses and turnovers were hardly enough to counteract his 4 assists, 5 steals and albeit effective defensive play against Clippers star, Kawhi Leonard.
Russell Westbrook’s on-court struggles seem endless
Voted as one of the 75 greatest players of all time, Russell Westbrook was not brought to Los Angeles to routinely make blooper reels amid scoreless nights. Teamed with NBA champs LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook was added to be the third head on a three-headed championship monster. Yet, in a 48-minute game – of which he played 27 minutes of – Westbrook’s dreadful two point performance is reminiscent of the prolonged downward spiral of once-elite talent Laker fans watched in 2021.
Every player is entitled to have an off night, bad handful of games, shaky playoff stretch – it happens. However, to have an entire 82 game season in which the hometown team booed one of its own speaks volumes of how bad Westbrook’s play has consistently been.
On Thursday night, Laker fans reportedly “gasped” when Westbrook aims his sights at the basket. Without corrective measures taken by Laker coaching or management, it appears a defiant Westbrook will have another year of jeers and ridicule, all while not serving himself or the team he’s playing on.
Today, longtime Los Angeles Times sports writer Bill Plaschke wrote, “The Lakers need to trade Russell Westbrook. Enough is enough.” However, with an annual contract over $41 million, finding a team to trade for the 33-year-old guard has been a failed priority for the Lakers, as other teams are reportedly unlikely to pay such a hefty amount for a player who is clearly skill deficient.
When asked about his Thursday night performance, Westbrook stated his game was “solid.” While that kind of unflinching self-delusion helps most athletes achieve the seemingly insurmountable, Westbrook’s lack of introspection has manifested in a routine lack of skill development and situational awareness.
Once known and celebrated as “Mr. Triple Double” in Oklahoma City, Westbrook’s on-court performances in the city of Angels have exposed his glaring deficiencies, of which none seem to have been improved upon since last season. Absent of any accountability in the media and without visible improvements on the court, Westbrook is about as close to solid as Oklahoma City is to Los Angeles.