Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook has struggled in his first season in Los Angeles, but his teammates reportedly tried to provoke him in order to get him to play better this season.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, while the Lakers’ coaching staff was direct in its discussions with Westbrook, his teammates tried to give him some extra motivation to take his game to the next level.
“There’s also guys in the locker room who were so disgruntled about their position that every time something goes bad for Russ, they just find a way to feed the beast,” a team source told Shelburne.
“Telling him the coaches hate you or the front office is trying to get rid of you. Anything to fuel that monster, and give him an enemy.”
Despite the different tactics, Westbrook has not been able to find his best form in Los Angeles. The former MVP is averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game this season while shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from beyond the arc.
The Lakers have already been eliminated from playoff contention this season, and there’s no doubt that the team’s lack of success has been deemed a failure by the franchise and its fans.
Westbrook was traded to the Lakers during the 2021 offseason. While the Lakers surely thought that he would be able to carry the team at times, the nine-time All-Star hasn’t really found a solid role within Los Angeles’ roster.
His teammates may have tried to find a reason to make him play with more of a chip on his shoulder, but the team ultimately never put things together this season.
Westbrook and the Lakers are set to face a tough offseason as they try to find a solution that works for both sides.