Patrick Beverley seems to be calling out the Los Angeles Lakers for blaming him and Russell Westbrook for coming up short in recent seasons after winning the NBA title in 2020.
"When I left, they blamed me; they blamed Russ. We're on some of the best teams in the NBA."
– Pat Bev on the Lakers
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) February 2, 2024
Beverley and Westbrook were teammates with the Lakers during the 2022-23 NBA season before they were traded in separate deals in February 2023. From there, the Lakers went on to reach the 2023 Western Conference Finals, where they were swept by the eventual NBA champion Denver Nuggets.
Westbrook was in his second season with the Lakers when he was traded away and often was the focus of criticism during his time there. He wound up signing with the Los Angeles Clippers to finish the 2022-23 campaign and has helped them become legitimate contenders for the NBA championship this season.
The Lakers looking to find players they can blame may be a troubling narrative that’s permeating in NBA circles. Last month, former player Evan Turner cautioned Kyle Lowry about possibly joining the team, saying they would make him the “fall guy” if things did not work out.
It all may be the result of LeBron James not being able to add another title after that 2020 championship, which some people dismiss or diminish because it was won in the COVID-19 bubble season.
Though a lot of heat was directed at head coach Darvin Ham earlier this season, the Lakers have no one to blame but themselves for the way it has gone. Despite outstanding seasons from James and Anthony Davis to date, the Lakers have managed just a 25-25 record that has them in ninth place in the Western Conference entering play Friday.
The Lakers reportedly are looking to make some improvements before the NBA trade deadline passes next week, with Dejounte Murray of the Atlanta Hawks a high-profile target. But if they do fall short of a championship again, there likely will be plenty of blame to go around.