When the current NBA season tipped off, there were many who had predicted that the Los Angeles Lakers would go all the way. Indeed, they sat in second place in the sports betting odds (behind the Brooklyn Nets), and general manager Rob Pelinka had brought in a bunch of stellar names. Things didn’t quite pan out as many would have expected.
The Lakers finished the regular season with a woeful 33-49 record and even failed to qualify for the play-in tournament. Rightly or wrongly, a lot of the blame for the failed campaign has been laid at the door of new arrival Russell Westbrook, and he’s not all that happy about this fact.
One wonders where the Lakers go from here? The sports betting predictions from Sidelines for next season will be interesting, not least as head coach Frank Vogel was fired this month, just two years after he led the team to an NBA title.
While Westbrook isn’t the only reason the Lakers suffered so badly this season, he definitely didn’t come close to the level that many would have expected from a nine-time NBA All-Star pick.
Indeed Westbrook has chosen to deflect some of the attention at the departing coach, stating;
“I’m not sure what his issue was with me,” before adding he:
“I was never given a fair chance to be who I needed to be to help this team.”
The experienced star then expanded on a well-worn narrative, chiefly Westbrook being ultra-defensive and refusing to take legitimate criticism;
“When I first got here and just being a person that, unfortunately, people create narratives of me and who I am and what I do, what I believe in that are just not true,”
“I’m always having to, like, prove myself again year after year after year, which is, to me, just unfair; there’s really no reason I have to do that. So, when I first got here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance just to be who I needed to be to be able to help this team.”
Westbrook certainly seems to suffer from a lack of self-awareness on the matter, especially when the stats don’t support his case.
Now there is a great deal of speculation that Westbrook could be traded away from the Lakers; no doubt the franchise is aware of the possibly destabilizing influence the 33-year-old might become.
Westbrook has been linked with a possible move to the Charlotte Hornets, the Indiana Pacers, and the New York Knicks, and it will be interesting to see where his career takes him next as the chances of him staying at the Crypto.com Arena seem slim right now.
Some have predicted that the Lakers might effectively pay him not to play and then look to keep him until the NBA trade deadline in 2023.
Westbrook played 78 games for the failing Lakers in 2021-22 and posted his worst points per game numbers since 2010, which tells you all you need to know.
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