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Russell Westbrook intro on struggles with Lakers: Basketball isn’t ‘the end of everything’

Russell Westbrook intro on struggles with Lakers: Basketball isn't 'the end of everything'

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook was expected to play an important role in their quest for an NBA championship. These expectations have so far been very insufficient.

Westbrook, who is averaging 18.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.1 assists on 43.7% shooting this season, has totaled just 23 points in his last three games while making only 8 of 40 shot attempts. The Lakers have lost two of those three games and have dropped eight of their last 13 since Dec. 17.

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While superstar Los Angeles forward LeBron James has excelled this season, averaging 29.1 points with 7.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists, Westbrook’s struggles and injury issues with the Los Angeles forward Lakers Anthony Davis have kept the team from reaching its potential, as well as injuries and absences related to COVID-19. .

Despite these on-court concerns, Westbrook shared in a recent interview with Athletic’s Sam Amick that he is still happy to be in Los Angeles, given that he is originally from SoCal and stays close to his parents and children.

“I can be home and be able to kiss them”, Westbrook noted. “They see me, and as I get older, I see my kids every day and take them to school every morning. For me, it brings joy.

Here’s more from Westbrook’s interview.

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Basketball is not ‘fin-all-be-all’:

Although Westbrook may be in the trade market before the Feb. 10 deadline, he said he doesn’t care what fans and the media think of him.

“I swear no one can imagine it for me because everyone thinks basketball is the end of the world, but it really isn’t, you know?” he noted. “Sportswriters – everyone has their own opinion. But I really believe that the fact that I’m able to do (being in LA) and hug my kids, it makes them – it makes me smile no matter what. pass now.

Westbrook’s cut to Los Angeles was met with skepticism when he was traded to the Lakers for guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, forwards Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell and the No. 22 pick in July’s 2021 NBA Draft last. The Lakers were ranked No. 23 in 3-point percentage last season and needed more floor spacing around James and Davis. Westbrook is a career 30.5% three-point shooter.

This season, the Lakers rank 14th in three-point percentage, but Westbrook is shooting just 28.3 percent from range. (Note: Westbrook’s career low of three is 22.1% and came in 2009 with the Thunder.)

Westbrook had to change his style of play with the Lakers – a ball-dominated origin – in more cutting and short-playing efforts against James.

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It has yet to work consistently for the Lakers, who have been on a five-game losing streak with five wins in six games and then two losses in their last 13 games. Their up-and-down, inconsistent play has the Lakers 21-21 midway through the season, good enough for 7th place in the Western Conference.

“We’re all trying to figure it out as a team, as a unit, to be able to say, ‘Okay, how can we figure this out? ‘” Westbrook said in our chat. “And I know I’m the one who has to make the biggest sacrifice – and I understand that – so I have to be able to find a way to get the most out of it and get the most out of it for this team and that’s all.

Will Westbrook be traded?

With less than a month to go before the trade deadline, it’s unclear if Westbrook will be moved from Los Angeles.

Slated to earn $44.2 million this season and a player option for next season worth more than $47 million, it will be difficult to find a suitor to take on such a large contract for the current production of Westbrook.

According to Amick, the 76ers would have no interest in a trade for Westbrook and possibly forward Ben Simmons. Another rumored package was with the Timberwolves for guard D’Angelo Russell, although there doesn’t seem to be much traction with that.

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For now, however, Westbrook is aware of the possibility and says he is happy in Los Angeles, despite the difficulties on the field.

“It doesn’t matter if (a trade) happened or if it didn’t happen, nothing is going to change my mentality or my goal,” Westbrook told Amick. “I feel like I have a bigger purpose than basketball and I always keep it front and center no matter what happens in professional sports.”

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