Instead, the experiment turned out to be a failure, as the Lakers failed to reach the play-in tournament during the 2021-22 season. Mercifully, they were able to flip Westbrook prior to last season’s trade deadline for two valuable players in D’Angelo Russell and Jarred Vanderbilt.
During Westbrook’s brief tenure with Los Angeles, it wasn’t able to get more than three games over .500.
Many blamed Westbrook for the team’s failures, but there are some who have criticized the Lakers themselves for not maximizing the nine-time All-Star and former regular season MVP.
Patrick Beverley, who was teammates with Westbrook during the first half of this past season, implied during the “Gil’s Arena” podcast that the Lakers simply mismanaged the whole situation (h/t Sports Illustrated).
“All the beef about Russ, maybe none of that happens,” said Beverley. “It’s ways that you have to operate your team without over-managing it, or over-coaching it. Sometimes you just have to put the dominoes out there.”
Westbrook is still a very good and viable NBA player, but he only knows one way to play, and perhaps that’s why he didn’t fit in with the Purple and Gold. As the third-best player on the team, he had to adjust and complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but many feel he’s the type of player that a team needs to center its offense around instead.