It was a struggle from the start for the Lakers, who had some clear chemistry issues with fitting in new acquisition Russell Westbrook into their offense this season.
It even got so bad that the Lakers considered benching Westbrook in favor of less talented players who can fit better alongside stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. And they did just that in some games down the stretch this season.
That always seemed to rub Westbrook the wrong way when it came to head coach Frank Vogel, who was relieved on Monday of his duties coaching the team. Westbrook let his opinion on his now former head coach be known on Monday, claiming that Vogel had an issue with him.
“I don’t know what his issue was with me,” Westbrook said. “When I first go here, I just felt that I was never given a fair chance just to be who I need to be to better help this team.”
These comments certainly got the NBA world talking, with many criticizing the former MVP for dissing Vogel as soon as he was fired.
Russell Westbrook is repeatedly saying he wasn't "given a fair chance" with the Lakers to do everything he can do for a basketball team. He says there are innumerable fake media narratives — "made-up stories" — about him that affected his work, but he declines to elaborate.
— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) April 11, 2022
*cuts to many clips of ball going off side of backboard* https://t.co/ysuWItWGTD
— Playoff Dalton (@dalton_trigg) April 11, 2022
Every person from the Lakers organization that has opened their mouths today makes me really feel for what Frank Vogel went through the last year https://t.co/fD6y4Hy1kk
— Grant Liffmann (@GrantLiffmann) April 11, 2022
i feel you Russ. my coaches never liked me when i hit the side of the backboard with my shots either. bunch of haters. https://t.co/82e7XYG4Dn
— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) April 11, 2022
Oh a few thousand thoughts come to mind… https://t.co/jN2flwXw2t
— Morten Stig Jensen (@msjnba) April 11, 2022
Westbrook notably took a pretty drastic drop in numbers when he was on the court for the Lakers, averaging only 18.5 points per game. That was his lowest number in that category since his second season in the NBA back in 2009-10.
His efficiency wasn’t great either. He shot only 44 percent from the field as well as a horrendous 30 percent on three point attempts.
It is pretty much assumed that nine-time All-Star Westbrook is going to accept his player option this upcoming offseason. That will keep him in Los Angeles on a whopping $47-million deal. But that creates issues when it comes to how the Lakers will fare next season.
It was very clearly a terrible fit for the Lakers to bring in Westbrook, who needs the ball to be effective. They added him to a team with James, one of the most ball-dominant players that we have in the NBA.
Whoever the next Lakers head coach is will certainly have their hands full in dealing with this roster going forward.