In recent times, few players have stirred as much debate within the Los Angeles Lakers community as point guard Russell Westbrook. The moment he arrived via trade, Westbrook became a focal point of attention in the Lakers’ universe. The expectations were high, and the anticipation was palpable.
The City of Angels saw the Lakers as a formidable title contender with Westbrook on board, but the reality didn’t align with the hype. In his first season with the team, the Lakers failed to make the postseason, leaving fans and pundits alike puzzled about the decision to bring him in.
While it’s unfair to place all the blame on Westbrook, it’s undeniable that he played a role in the team’s struggles. So, when the Lakers finally decided to trade him before the last deadline, it felt like a collective sigh of relief for the entire organization.
What followed was a resurgence for the Lakers as they charged into the Western Conference Finals, displaying a newfound synergy among the players. Lakers guard Austin Reaves recently shed light on why the team’s chemistry didn’t work before the trade, ultimately leading to their decision to part ways with the future Hall-of-Fame point guard.
It’s intriguing to hear Reaves acknowledge that the team couldn’t crack the code to make the roster function cohesively. However, even for the casual observer, it was evident that the issues ran deep and were not easily fixable during Westbrook’s tenure.
Fortunately for both parties involved, the separation turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The Lakers now boast a well-rounded roster with players who complement their star players more effectively, while Westbrook has found his stride as a valuable asset for the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I’ve said it many times. It was just not a good fit. Me and Bron have talked about it. Bron was like, ‘Before that year, we were last in the league in transition points and it made sense.’ Watching it all go downhill was interesting to me, was how could we have figured it out. There wasn’t really a way with that roster.”
The Lakers and Westbrook’s parting of ways was a necessary step. Westbrook struggled to meet his usual on-court standards, and the criticism off the court only added to his woes. In retrospect, it was a mismatch from the outset, a decision that, in hindsight, should have never been made.