Lakers guard Russell Westbrook was anticipated to be an necessary piece of their quest for an NBA championship. These expectations have fallen very quick thus far.
Westbrook, who’s averaging 18.7 factors, 8.2 rebounds and eight.1 assists on 43.7 % capturing this season, has totaled simply 23 factors over his final three video games whereas making simply 8-of-40 shot makes an attempt. The Lakers misplaced two of these three video games and have misplaced eight of their final 13 contests courting again to Dec. 17.
Whereas Los Angeles famous person ahead LeBron James has excelled this season, averaging 29.1 factors with 7.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists, Westbrook’s struggles and damage points with Lakers ahead Anthony Davis have saved the workforce from attaining its potential, together with accidents and COVID-19 associated absences.
Regardless of these on-court issues, Westbrook shared in a latest interview with The Athletic’s Sam Amick that he’s nonetheless joyful being in Los Angeles, given that he’s a SoCal native and stays in shut proximity to his dad and mom and kids.
“I’m in a position to be dwelling and have the ability to embrace them,” Westbrook mentioned. “They get to see me, and as they become older I get to see my children on daily basis and take them to highschool each morning. To me, that brings pleasure.”
Right here’s extra from Westbrook’s interview.
Basketball not ‘end-all-be-all’:
Although Westbrook could also be on the commerce market forward of the deadline on Feb. 10, he mentioned he’s not involved of what followers and media alike take into consideration him.
“I swear, no one can think about it for me as a result of all people thinks about basketball because the end-all-be-all, nevertheless it’s actually not, you recognize?” he mentioned. “Sportswriters– all people’s received their very own opinion. However I actually consider that me having the ability to do (be in LA) and embrace my children, it makes them — it places a smile on my face no matter what’s taking place now.”
Westbrook’s slot in Los Angeles was met with skepticism when he was traded to the Lakers for guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, forwards Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 decide within the 2021 NBA Draft final July. The Lakers had been ranked No. 23 in 3-point proportion final season and wanted extra ground spacing round James and Davis. Westbrook is a profession 30.5% three-point shooter.
This season, the Lakers rank No. 14 in three-point proportion, however Westbrook is capturing simply 28.3% from distance. (Notice: Westbrook’s career-low from three is 22.1% and got here in 2009 with the Thunder.)
Westbrook has needed to change up his play-style with the Lakers— a ball-dominant origin of play — in efforts of extra reducing and short-roll play off of James.
It has but to persistently work for the Lakers, who’ve adopted a five-game shedding streak with 5 wins in six contests after which two losses of their final 13 video games. Their up and down, inconsistent play has the Lakers at 21-21 on the halfway level of the season, ok for seventh within the Western Convention.
“We’re all attempting to determine it out as a workforce, as a unit, to have the ability to say, ‘Okay, how can we determine this out?’” Westbrook mentioned in our chat. “And I do know I’m the one who has received to make the most important sacrifice — and I perceive that — so I’ve received to have the ability to determine a method to have the ability to make one of the best out of it and make one of the best for this workforce and that’s it.
Will Westbrook be traded?
With lower than a month remaining till the commerce deadline, it’s unclear if Westbrook might be moved from Los Angeles.
Set to make $44.2 million this season and a participant choice for subsequent season price over $47 million, discovering a suitor to tackle that enormous of a contract for Westbrook’s present output might be robust.
In accordance with Amick, the 76ers reportedly have “zero” curiosity in a commerce for Westbrook and maybe ahead Ben Simmons. One other rumored package deal has been with the Timberwolves for guard D’Angelo Russell, although there would not seem to be a lot traction with it.
For now, nonetheless, Westbrook is conscious of the chance and says he’s joyful in Los Angeles, regardless of the on-court struggles.
“No matter if (a commerce) did occur or if it didn’t occur, nothing’s going to alter my mentality or my goal,” Westbrook advised Amick. “I really feel like I’ve a goal that’s larger than basketball and I all the time preserve that as my forefront no matter what occurs inside of professional sports activities.”