After the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2021-22 season ended in disaster with them not reaching the play-in tournament, many felt that Russell Westbrook turned in a poor campaign for them.
The basketball community has seemingly turned on Westbrook in recent months, but Sam Presti, the general manager of the Oklahoma City Thunder, one of his former teams, seems to have his back.
“Kevin Durant is a basketball god, James Harden’s a basketball genius and Russell Westbrook’s a basketball warrior,” said Presti.
When Westbrook was acquired by L.A. in a blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards last summer, many assumed it would be a prime contender for this year’s NBA championship.
But for many reasons, including key injuries and Westbrook’s inconsistent play, the Lakers grossly underachieved, and they were especially bad after the All-Star break.
For the season, Westbrook averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. If those numbers seem impressive at face value, they are well below the production he has turned in during recent seasons.
In four of the previous five years, the University of California, Los Angeles product averaged a triple-double.
This season, his shooting efficiency was up and down, although he did do a good job in reducing his turnovers, something which had been a big problem for him for many years.
The Lakers will look to trade Westbrook this offseason, and there are a couple of teams that have been rumored to show interest in him. However, L.A.’s reluctance to take back players who have a history of being injury-prone could complicate consummating such a trade.