Obviously the trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook did not come together the way everyone hoped it would for the Los Angeles Lakers. Injuries played a major part in the struggles of the team and the trio not getting many minutes together, but even when they were on the court, it was a struggle, to say the least.
But a lot of the blame for the Lakers’ issues this season fell on Westbrook. The point guard already had his share of detractors coming in, and his struggles on the court along with his massive contract and what the Lakers gave up to acquire him made him an easy target.
But within the Lakers, his teammates continually defended him and that hasn’t stopped with the season now over. In an interview with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Davis said that the Lakers failures this season fall on everyone, not just Westbrook:
“Russ isn’t a one-man show,” Davis said. “He can’t beat teams by himself. It’s all of us. It’s my play, me not being on the floor. Bron’s play, him not being on the floor. … Everybody. Coaches. Everybody’s a part of the blame. … Russ, it wasn’t his fault.”
There is definitely plenty of blame to go around for the Lakers this year and Westbrook has taken plenty of it, but that is also what comes when joining this franchise. The Lakers have expectations unlike any other franchise and Westbrook was brought in to help keep things afloat if LeBron or Davis was injured and that didn’t happen.
Much was also made of Westbrook’s fit alongside Davis and LeBron and whether his style would mesh. Westbrook himself made note of his belief that he didn’t really get a fair chance with the Lakers and was not able to be himself on the court. But Davis noted that the Lakers didn’t need that old style of play from Westbrook and he struggled to adjust:
“We necessarily didn’t need that this year,” Davis said. “When I got here, I didn’t play the same way I played with Bron. Bron had to change; everybody had to change. Everybody had to make sacrifices. It was tough for [Westbrook] to adjust to that.”
When star players come together the need to adjust is always there as everyone is used to having the ball all the time and things being centered around them. Sacrifices are necessary in order to accomplish the ultimate goal and it sounds as if Westbrook had problems making those sacrifices to his game.
All of the Lakers have publicly supported Westbrook throughout the season, but if he is unable to make those necessary sacrifices, the trade rumors that continue to pop up may need to be a reality this offseason.
James still hungry for more Lakers championships
Of course, Davis and James have already accomplished the main goal of winning an NBA Championship, bringing the Lakers franchise their 17th in 2020. But LeBron made it clear that he still wants more for the team.
“I came here to win a championship and I want to win more,” James said at his exit interview. “I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, but I’m still hungry for more. I’m confident that this organization wants the same. It’s what this organization has always been about. I also just wanted to change the narrative how this franchise can compete at a high level again. What they’ve done decade and decade and decades of winning.
“But yeah, when I signed here when Magic [Johnson] was here and Rob [Pelinka] was here, obviously and is still here. I told them I want to help this franchise become a champion again, so I’ve done that, we’ve done that, but I want to do it again.”
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