NBA executive slights Russell Westbrook when comparing him to 2022 draft prospect

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

Los Angeles Lakers star guard Russell Westbrook has received a lot of criticism over the past year. During the 2021-22 NBA campaign, he was essentially blamed for his team’s collapse. He was seen as an awful fit alongside LeBron James, and he did not appear willing to change his playing style.

While the Lakers have seemingly accepted the fact that Westbrook may very well remain on the team for next season, he is still receiving a lot of criticism across the league. When discussing draft prospect Jaden Ivey, one unnamed Eastern Conference executive spoke candidly about Westbrook.

“He’s got elite speed,” the executive said of Ivey while speaking with David Aldridge of The Athletic. “He’s got the elite-level speed. And he’s got some size. He’s not like 6-foot or 5-11. He’s got good size to him. And he can touch the paint when he wants to. And in the open floor — oh, he’s got some turbo boost, kind of in the same vein as Ja Morant and Westbrook. And I think his neck up is better than what people give him credit for, because of his mom. He’s been around the game. It’s just getting the reps, and understanding when you put the ball in his hands as a point guard, what he needs to do on the NBA floor…

“I think his execution will be a whole lot better than Russell’s, even at a young age. And the difference is, he’ll be getting coached. When Russell was young, Russell was allowed to just go out there. … (Ivey’s) shooting has gotten better. He’s got the toolset to do it (defensively), and he’s competitive enough that he’ll sit down and want to guard people. I don’t see him not giving a s—. He’s competitive enough. And you’ve got to be held accountable. If he’s held accountable, I think the kid will play defense.”

It’s certainly an interesting contrast, and it is not one that can really be ignored by Lakers fans. One of the biggest issues Westbrook had this season was with shooting the ball. He often opted to shoot rather than find an open teammate. During the regular season, it led to a lot of wasted offensive possessions for the Lakers.

The truth is that the Lakers are facing a lot of question marks at the moment. Though they have their new head coach in Darvin Ham, only time will tell if Ham and his staff can actually find a way to make the superstar trio of Westbrook, James and Anthony Davis work.

If the trio figures things out, the Lakers could have a major resurgent season ahead. If the trio continues to stumble, Lakers fans may be in for another clunker of a campaign.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.