In December, Russell Westbrook played his best basketball as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, stepping up when a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak decimated the team’s roster.
But since the turn of the year, Westbrook’s form nosedived — particularly on the offensive end. The 2017 NBA MVP has been shooting just 31.8% from the field over the last six games, averaging 12.8 points.
He’s also yet to hit a triple in 2022 having gone 0-for-15 since the Dec. 29 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
LeBron James says all Westbrook can do to get out of his slump is to work hard and wait until the cold spell ends.
“Just keep working,” James said. “Obviously you just put in the work and trust the work that you put it. He’s getting some really good looks, they’re just not going down for him.”
Westbrook missed all of his five 3-point attempts on Wednesday when the Lakers fell 125-116 to the Sacramento Kings, ending the night 2-for 14 (14.3%) from the field. His last try from downtown hurt L.A. the most, as the 33-year-old guard sent a wayward pull-up jumper from 25 feet away with just over a minute left on the clock, burying the Purple and Gold’s chances of turning things around.
James says Westbrook’s shooting woes frustrates the guard himself, as it would any other professional.
“We’re all basketball players, NBA players,” the Lakers’ All-Star said. “Everyone gets frustrated when they don’t play well. That’s natural.”
Frank Vogel doesn’t think Westbrook’s slump affected his confidence
Before firing that late, ill-fated 3-point attempt on Wednesday, Westbrook decided not to make a layup on an earlier play — even though he seemed in a good position to do so.
When asked about Westbrook’s confidence, head coach Frank Vogel said he doesn’t think it’s been affected by the guard’s shooting struggles.
“I thought that play he sensed traffic, and we’re telling all of our guys that when there’s traffic, we’re playing with space, so find a shooter,” Vogel said.
“So that’s probably what he was looking at in that moment, I got to look at the tape.”
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