Russell Westbrook had a tumultuous debut season with the Los Angeles Lakers, to say the least.
The off-season spelled uncertainty for Westbrook’s future with the team but trade talks stalled. Tensions rose all summer as the friction between championship expectations and the Lakers’ small championship window played out for everyone to see. New coach, new teammates, new system, new season, same Russ. Westbrook is still ready to do what he has always done: his job.
“I don’t need to,” Westbrook told ESPN about feeling wanted by the Lakers. “I just need to do my job; whether I’m wanted or not doesn’t really matter. I think the most important thing is that I show up for work and I do the job like I’ve always done it: be professional and go out and play my ass off and compete.”
Westbrook is the all-time triple-double king with 194 triple-doubles. He had 10 last season en route to averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. While this may be a career year for any other player, it was nearly disastrous for Russ and the Lakers as they missed the playoffs. Despite Westbrook playing 78 games, the trio of Westbrook-LeBron-Davis only played 21 total games together. After only 21 games, Westbrook is still optimistic about where they can go as a big 3.
“There’s so much optimism on how we can be great, how AD, LeBron, myself– can be unstoppable in my opinion,” Russell Westbrook says.
Russ knows better than anyone that his first season with the Lakers was not what anyone had in mind. It was hardly the dream to be booed by Lakers fans in his hometown arena in front of his friends and family in the crowd. But Westbrooks owns that too.
“I’m going to make mistakes. I’m [occasionally] not going to have good games. There will be times and stretches when I don’t play well. I’ve owned that, and there were times last year I could’ve played better, and I own that part of it. Moving into this year, I feel even more prepared than I was in years past. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most. That right there will get me past any struggles that come my way.”
Westbrook will have the reinvent himself with a new head coach after former boss Frank Vogel was fired shortly after the season ended, and Darvin Ham was named his successor. Westbrook had a summer full of conversations with Ham about building “connection” and “trust” and finding a way for the former MVP to impact winning on their team. Westbrook is ready for whatever.
“I’m all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win,” Westbrook says. “I’m prepared for whatever comes my way.”
After a season that went anything but according to plan, being prepared for whatever is possibly the best thing Russell Westbrook can do.
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