Thank you Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

On a nightly basis, fans of the Los Angeles Lakers were treated to an unwanted show. They moaned loudly as Russell Westbrook tossed uncatchable passes into the third row of the arena. They also incredulously rolled their eyes as Westbrook clanked shot after shot off the rim.

Initially, we’ll admit, it appeared as though the LA Clippers dominance over their down-the-hall rival had officially come to an end. While the Lakers had suffered through a bit of a down season during the 2020-21 league year, losing in the opening round of the postseason, it seemed clear that a championship parade was likely in their near future. LeBron James was still as great as ever, Anthony Davis, while listless at times on the court, was also unstoppable. Adding Westbrook to that mix seemed both puzzling but frightening for Clipper faithful.

Yet, even with the Lakers trotting out three Hall of Famers seemingly in their prime, with two others who will likely join those famed halls in Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, they were never able to figure it out.

Admittedly, Clipper Nation tuned in on a nightly basis. And, by all accounts, everyone appeared fine. James scored effortlessly over his defenders, finishing the year with a scoring average of 30.3 points, the second highest of his career. Davis, while apathetic on the court at times, was still stellar, averaging 23.2 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game. Even the remains of a past his prime Carmelo Anthony played explosively for long stretches, while Dwight Howard muscled larger men out of the way as he made his way to loose balls and offensive rebounds.

Yet, it was Westbrook who was obtrusive on the court. He struggled with his efficiency, shooting less than 30% from the 3-point line and only 44% from the field. He finished second in the league in total turnovers, and more importantly, he simply couldn’t find his way when both James and Davis were on the court with him. His impact defensively? Nonexistent. Offensively? He was atrocious, finishing the year with -0.6 offensive win shares.

As their troubles mounted, the Clippers wouldn’t allow them to receive a reprieve, as they handed them three defeats on the year and sweeping the season series.

Fed up with Westbrook’s vagarious play, Laker Nation booed their former All-Star nightly, sapping away his confidence as he appeared hesitant and unnerved. A rage-filled Westbrook lashed back, openly telling fans that they can “go home” during a midseason game in which they were once again, getting destroyed.

Despite the ups and downs, Westbrook has recently opted into the final year of his contract which will pay him a hefty 47.1 million this upcoming season. But while Westbrook danced and sung along to Beyonce’s Break My Soul record when the news was announced, ironically enough, he broke the souls of Lakers fans around the world.

Russell Westbrook will play a huge part in the Lakers continued downfall

For at least this upcoming season, the Lakers are stuck with their petulant point guard. And while Darvin Ham, the Lakers’ new head coach, will attempt to boost Westbrook’s spirits and mitigate his ineffectiveness, the results will likely be the same.

The Clippers, on the other hand, have championship aspirations on their mind. After winning 42 games with Kawhi Leonard sidelined and a hobbled Paul George, both players are expected to return to full health. Also, John Wall, a former five-time All-Star, has already expressed his desire to join the Clippers once free agency begins.

So, by all means Westbrook, you should continue to sing and dance as you deposit bulky bi-weekly checks into your massive bank account. But while the Hall of Fame bound guard continues to frolic happily, Clippers fans will join you as they sing, dance, and openly enjoy watching you sink our rivals even further into basketball damnation.

Next. Happy birthday Kawhi, ranking his best regular season games as a Clipper. dark