Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonnie Walker IV had some major praise for his teammate Russell Westbrook and his sacrifice in moving to the bench this season.
— Silver Screen and Roll (@LakersSBN) November 18, 2022
“It just shows, you know, what type of player and person Russ is,” Walker said. “He’s not an egotistic guy. The world doesn’t revolve around him. He’s one of the most genuine, down-to-earth people I’ve ever met in my life.
“To see the amount of harshness that he’s gone through as far as social media this last year and even this year, he comes to practice with great energy. He comes to practice ready to work. It just goes to show just his character and what type of player he is. That’s something that I have learned within myself. I’m here to do whatever it takes for my team to win. And Russ is one of the first leaders to show that.”
Walker also gave Westbrook a ton of credit for thriving in a role that he’s never played before, calling him a future Hall of Famer in the process.
“For him to take that role and elevate it to a whole nother level and create a whole new identity speaks incredible volume,” said Walker. “And, for us to see that, it’s like, ‘Dang, alright well we gotta do what it takes.’”
Walker spoke on Westbrook’s leadership and how it has inspired the rest of the group, even with the team’s slow start to the season.
“We all, as a collective group, we all gotta take what it is to win,” said Walker. “We all gotta sacrifice, whether it’s diving on the ball or doing the dirty work because our leaders are doing it.”
The 2022-23 season hasn’t started the way the Lakers would have liked, as the team is currently 14th in the Western Conference and has just three wins in its first 13 games.
The team has to turn things around quickly if it wants to have a legit shot at competing for the playoffs this season, and it appears Westbrook has instilled in the rest of the team that they need to sacrifice to get there.
Since coming off the bench this season, Westbrook has completely turned around his season-long numbers. He is now averaging 16.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game while shooting 41.2 percent from the field and 34.0 percent from beyond the arc.
He’s been one of the Lakers’ most consistent contributors this season, and he had a huge game in the team’s recent win over the Brooklyn Nets, scoring 14 points and adding 12 assists and six rebounds.
A former league MVP, Westbrook is clearly willing to do what it takes to put the Lakers in the best position to win this season. Although he has been the subject of trade rumors since the offseason, Westbrook has still acted as a leader in the locker room.
Walker’s praise shows just how much the team as a whole values Westbrook and his presence.