The Los Angeles Lakers blew out the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night and Russell Westbrook had one of his best games as a Laker to date. He played very well on both ends of the floor and provided multiple highlights that Laker fans can sit back and enjoy.
This continued a trend of recent success for Westbrook, who has been playing well of late. Over his last eight games the former MVP is averaging 23.5 points, 8.9 assists and 6.9 rebounds while shooting 50.4% from the field and 36.4% from beyond the arc.
Those are all great marks and are exactly what the Lakers should be asking for out of Westbrook. With this recent success in mind, and coming off of a huge win over Boston, some have pondered the question: did we judge the Russell Westbrook trade as a failure too soon?
Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report broke down this idea, and while it is music to Laker fans’ ears, the fact of the matter is that we are getting too enamored with recent performances in a small sample size. At the end of the day, the same reality is true.
The Russell Westbrook trade is still a bad one for the Los Angeles Lakers
Yes, Russell Westbrook has been playing well recently and you could make the argument that the team is finally figuring out how to utilize him in the rotation with the other pieces. With several injuries to other rotation players, the Lakers have not been able to build up any consistency this season. That is going to make it tougher to figure out this Westbrook experiment.
While it could be better than it has been, the ceiling of Westbrook on the Lakers is still extremely limited. We can talk all we want about how the Lakers just need more time to figure it out and once they do that they will be dangerous. The problem is that Russell Westbrook has not given anyone the benefit of the doubt that he can figure it out and turn things around.
Let me ask you this: what has Russell Westbrook won in this league? No, I am not talking about the individual accolades. What about his team success? Westbrook’s playstyle has continually held teams back when it really mattered the most: in the playoffs.
Since Kevin Durant left the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook has won exactly one playoff series: round one of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Thunder. Ironically enough, Westbrook missed four of those seven games.
We can talk about his box score numbers all we want but all of the holes that Westbrook creates will get amplified in the playoffs. The team defense, which is among the worst in the league, will get exploited. His high turnover numbers will cost games, if not series. The floor-spacing will continue to be an issue and in turn, will make it really hard to beat teams like the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns or Utah Jazz.
Westbrook was brought in to take some of the regular-season load off of LeBron James and he has not done that. He has a handful of solid games and people seem to forget about the reality of the situation. Russell Westbrook is a bad fit on the Los Angeles Lakers, is extremely overpaid and does not allow the Lakers any roster flexibility to make adjustments at the deadline, which other contenders can do.
No, we did not judge the Russell Westbrook trade as a failure too soon. In fact, allowing a small sample size to override the downright bad basketball we have seen all season is making a judgment too soon.