It’s straightforward to only wish to blame Russell Westbrook.
In spite of everything, his addition to the Los Angeles Lakers this season has been an outright catastrophe.
It’s truthful to say that Westbrook can’t shoot. And because the begin of the brand new 12 months, it’s additionally truthful so as to add to his scouting report that at present he couldn’t hit the broad facet of a barn.
It actually comes as no shock that Westbrook doesn’t slot in L.A.
And fairly truthfully, most NBA analysts and sports activities radio speak present hosts predicted it as a primary guess, not a second guess.
Essentially the most blame, nonetheless, belongs to LeBron James. He’s the Dr. Frankenstein. He created this dysfunctional monster referred to as the Lakers this season.
Regardless of sporting shorts and dribbling a basketball, James is the de facto basic supervisor of the Lakers. Make no mistake about it. Rob Pelinka could be referred to as Pinocchio in case you may see the strings that LeBron is pulling.
This Dream Group is what LeBron needed. He recruited Westbrook. Bear in mind the video posted on social media with James and Anthony Davis in a pow-wow for the ages, convincing Westbrook it could work.
James needed his personal Huge 3, identical to the Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. James figured if he needed a shot at one other NBA title, he needed to be on-par with that three-headed monster.
However the way in which the Lakers are at present put collectively, they don’t have any shot at profitable a championship.
Reality be informed, there was a greater match on the desk for the Lakers six months in the past. They may have traded for Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield. He was the right match. He can shoot from the perimeter and doesn’t want the ball in his palms like Westbrook does. That wouldn’t have clashed with LeBron. Hield would have been simply what the physician ordered.
The Kings talked to the Lakers about dealing Hield for Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell. As an alternative of pulling the set off on that, the Lakers opted to bundle these two gamers, plus Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and future draft picks, to the Washington Wizards in trade for Westbrook.
There could possibly be just one purpose Hield didn’t wind up with the Lakers. He wasn’t a sufficiently big identify, wasn’t star-studded sufficient to play in L.A.
In spite of everything, L.A. is a star-driven spot for its groups — Mookie Betts got here to the Dodgers, Odell Beckham Jr. joined the Rams and A.D. was a giant splash when he joined the Lakers. And naturally there’s LeBron.
However Westbrook coming to play for his hometown group has been a giant flop.
At mainly the midway level within the season, the Lakers (21-21) are only a mediocre bunch within the Western Convention. Coming into Friday, they have been the seventh-seeded group within the convention.
Granted, Anthony Davis has been damage large time. The group could be higher if he have been taking part in.
Nonetheless, you’ll count on a group with James, Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony to be a lot better than they’ve been. They beat the also-rans — typically — however not any good groups more often than not. That’s not an excellent look.
The Lakers are actually a prepare wreck. And it’s laborious to look at Westbrook’s play and never look away.
Within the final 4 video games, Westbrook’s taking pictures has gone off the rails, now a woeful 25.four p.c from the sphere (15-for-59). In Wednesday’s clunker, a loss to the Kings, Westbrook shot 2-for-14 from the sphere, together with 0-for-5 from three-point land.
Westbrook was a foul concept from soar road .
An nameless NBA exec mentioned this about Westbrook, “He’s by no means been a talented participant, simply received by with freakish athleticism …however as you become old and also you’re not as freakish as you was, you then should rely on ability, and proper now that’s being uncovered.”
Spot on. Plus, Westbrook hasn’t actually match wherever.
It didn’t work in OKC with Durant and Harden. It didn’t work with Harden in Houston. And it didn’t work in D.C. with Bradley Beal.
Now on an enormous stage, all of NBA America is seeing it.
For positive, it’s laborious accountable LeBron for the bricks that Westbrook is at present taking pictures.
However don’t get it twisted. LeBron is accountable for pondering he may make Westbrook work in L.A.
It wasn’t taking place again in July on paper when the commerce was made and it ain’t taking place now, half a season later.
Lakers followers can thank LeBron for that.