• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Thunder beat writer defends Russell Westbrook from his haters

·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Despite bursts of good play, Russell Westbrook was made into the scapegoat for all that went wrong with the Los Angeles Lakers this past season.

While he wasn’t blameless, he also was far from the biggest reason the team failed to reach the playoffs or even the play-in tournament.

Many Lakers fans have been hyperbolic in their criticism of the former league MVP, calling the trade that brought him to town the worst in team history. Some even believe he’s perhaps the worst player in the NBA, at least in terms of net impact or value relative to his contract.

But one thing Westbrook can never be accurately criticized for is his effort and energy.

Brandon Rahbar, a beat writer for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook’s former team, reminded the guard’s critics that he is one player who can be counted on to always show up and try his best.

While Westbrook’s constant effort and intensity should not be confused with results — he sometimes cuts defensive possessions short and isn’t active enough without the ball on offense — those are qualities the Lakers lacked throughout the 2021-22 season.

While a few of his teammates may have had a casual attitude at times or were simply unable to always give 100% effort due to wear and tear, Westbrook always went after it.

During the second half of the season, he even seemed to find a solution for one of his biggest problems: turnovers.

Over his last 40 games, he turned the ball over only 2.9 times per contest, which knocked his season average down to 3.8 a game, his lowest since 2014.

List

How Thomas Bryant can be a significant help for the Lakers