The addition of Russell Westbrook was celebrated by the Lakers as a move that was supposed to ensure the team returns to contending for a championship.
It was supported by the bookmakers who placed Los Angeles as the number two favorite to win the title this year, behind Brooklyn. But as the season progressed it became more and more noticeable that it won’t be a smooth year.
Fast forward to the final week of the regular season and the Lakers are on an 8-game losing streak, eliminated from the postseason with 3 games left to play.
Westbrook received a fair share amount of criticism for his struggles on the court trying to fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In many games the former NBA MVP did not look like himself.
There were reports that Russ is not getting along well with the Lakers head coach Frank Vogel who benched the superstar a few times during the final minutes of games. It turns out that it started from Day 1 as Westbrook had no respect to Vogel.
Via Dan Woike, Broderick Turner of Los Angeles Times:
“Russell Westbrook never respected Frank from Day 1,” said one Lakers staff member with knowledge of the situation. “The moment Frank said anybody who gets the rebound can bring it up the court, which is just how the NBA is played these days, Russ was like, ‘Naw, I’m the point guard. Give the ball to me. Everybody run. Frank was like, ‘No, we have Talen. We have Austin. We have Malik. We have LeBron. We have AD. They can all bring the ball up.’ He was like, ‘Nope, I’m the point guard. Give me that s—. Everybody get out the way.’ “From that point on, in training camp, it was a wrap, ‘cause now Russ is a fish out of water. He doesn’t know what to do. That’s how that started.”
This season Westbrook is averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.3 minutes per game.