It’s no secret that the veteran’s stint with the Lakers — which ended last season before the trade deadline — was a rocky one, but Westbrook recently suggested that folks aren’t always aware of everything that goes on behind the scenes.
“Nobody knows, it’s just a made up narrative that people make easy to run with,” Westbrook said to The Athletic. “There’s never been a teammate, coach, staff — never one thing bad. It’s just what’s made up. But it’s all going to play out. You know why? What makes people upset is how I don’t give a f— because I know who I am, I know what kind of person I am. So I know when people say something, I don’t waver, because I already know. I know what I do behind the scenes that people don’t see. And I like it that way.”
The 2021-22 season was Westbrook’s first with the Lakers, and it was a frustrating one. While the point guard did average 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game, he struggled to find chemistry with his teammates, contributing to a 33-49 season in which L.A. missed the playoffs.
Westbrook’s 2022-23 campaign with the Lakers had some bright spots after he took on a bench role, but the flaws were still hard to ignore, resulting in a trade that sent him to the Utah Jazz. He quickly reached a buyout agreement with the Jazz and ultimately ended up with the Clippers.
The nine-time All-Star looked like a new player after landing with the Clippers last season, earning a starting spot and making a considerable impact in both the regular season and playoffs.
This season, the trend has continued, with Westbrook averaging 13.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game for the Clippers while maintaining efficient shooting clips (56.1 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from deep) and keeping turnovers to a minimum (3.3 per game, equaling the lowest mark of his career).
Westbrook’s season is only four games young, but it seems like he’s on his way to a solid campaign for a Clippers squad that has legitimate title aspirations. The Lakers and Clippers could end up in each other’s way in the Western Conference if the dominoes fall a certain way.
When the two squads face off on Wednesday, the Lakers will look to snap an 11-game losing streak in matchups against the Clippers. Westbrook, however, will look to extend the streak to 12.