NBA scout slams how Lakers used Russell Westbrook

Brad Sullivan
3 Min Read

In the opinion of one NBA scout, the Los Angeles Lakers erred in trying to change the departed Russell Westbrook’s game into one that focused more on 3-point shooting and defense.

Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times previewed Westbrook’s upcoming first game against the Lakers as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday and noted the anonymous scout’s criticism of the Lakers’ approach.

“Asking Russ to be a 3-and-D guy is like asking Wilt [Chamberlain] to be a point guard,” the scout said.

Chamberlain was a 7-foot-1 center who, like Westbrook, was a prolific scorer. Yet, the former Lakers legend was never expected to show off his ball-handling skills.

In the case of Westbrook, he was acquired by the Lakers in a 2021 blockbuster deal. The trade was thought to put the team in strong contention for another NBA title.

Instead of a title, however, chemistry problems immediately surfaced and the Lakers’ efforts to change Westbrook’s prolific offensive output were a disaster.

The end result for the 2021-22 campaign was that the Lakers failed to even reach the postseason. While one major reason for that miss was connected to the injuries to Anthony Davis and LeBron James, Westbrook’s continued struggles also played a part in the team’s disappointing season.

Early on, the Lakers appeared to realize that the Westbrook deal was a mistake, with trade rumors surfacing periodically. That didn’t happen last season, but the team eventually dealt him to the Utah Jazz in February of this year.

The Jazz quickly released Westbrook, who then signed with the Clippers. Since joining the team, Westbrook is averaging 15.2 points, 7.8 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.

Those numbers are similar to what Westbrook was delivering for the Lakers. However, that was largely coming off the bench, whereas he’s started all 18 games he’s played with the Clippers.

Grief also pointed out that Westbrook is doing much better with the Clippers when it comes to scoring on fast breaks and off of turnovers.

Westbrook’s enthusiasm for the game appears to be returning with the Clippers, with Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue noting that Westbrook remains engaged even when not playing.

Entering the Lakers’ Tuesday night road matchup against the Utah Jazz, the team is just a half-game behind the Clippers. Both teams are furiously jockeying for playoff position, with both teams trying to avoid the play-in portion of the schedule.

That focus is why the Lakers most likely aren’t reflecting on the failed Westbrook experiment. However, whether they eventually endorse the scout’s assessment remains to be seen.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.