Russell Westbrook’s first season with the Los Angeles Lakers ended in a massive disappointment for the franchise, which failed to qualify for the postseason 18 months after winning the 2019-20 title.
Westbrook has faced plenty of criticism from fans and franchise legends throughout the year, failing to keep up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ production. With three games left in the season, the 2017 NBA MVP averages 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists over 78 games.
But even though his 2021-22 performance was far from ideal, Westbrook hardly was the sole source of the Lakers’ problems during the unfortunate campaign. L.A. faced adversity since the season began, seeing players constantly falling in and out of the rotation with injuries.
Yet, Westbrook can recognize a few positives that came out of what could be perceived as an overall frustrating experience.
“Honestly, me personally, it’s a situation that I was just blessed to be able to be in,” he said. “I learned a lot of different things about myself and I was able to stay real faithful and true to what I believe in regardless of what was ever thrown our way and continued to just fight through it regardless of the results.”
Westbrook emphasized his spiritual growth during the season, which strengthened his connection to faith.
“I’m covered and what I mean by that is I am super blessed and grateful regardless of whatever is thrown my way,” Westbrook said when asked what he has learned over the last year.
“I’m covered by my protection in faith and what’s happening or thrown my way, I can always prevail and get through it.”
Westbrook didn’t want to discuss what went wrong for the Lakers in 2021-22 right after they officially got eliminated from Play-In Tournament contention in the aftermath of Tuesday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns.
“There’s so many different things that happened, but I personally don’t like to point fingers or blame anybody,” the Lakers guard said. “I just only can control myself and control what I’m able to do with my actions. So that’s all I can speak on.”
Westbrook wants to return to Lakers for 2022-23
Despite the disappointing nature of the 2021-22 season, Westbrook said he’d like to run it back with the Lakers next year. “Yeah, that’s the plan but nothing is promised,” he said.
The guard has a $47 million player option for the 2022-23 campaign, which he is more than likely to pick up in the offseason.
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