NBA Scout Doesn’t Hold Back On Lakers’ Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

After an offseason of uncertainty, it sounds like Russell Westbrook will be starting the 2022-23 NBA season on the roster of the Los Angeles Lakers. Heading into Media Day and training camp, it sounds like Westbrook is willing to make some changes to help the Los Angeles Lakers win as many games as possible.

His unwillingness to adjust his style of play was a topic of discussion for months as Westbrook failed to take responsibility for the shortcomings that Los Angeles experienced last season. However, after conversations with new head coach Darvin Ham, it sounds as if the former MVP is ready to turn over a new leaf.

While Westbrook is now saying the right things, some people aren’t convinced that it will translate on the court. One of those people is an NBA scout that talked to NBA Analysis Network. They are skeptical that Westbrook is going to be able to have a positive impact based on what the Lakers need from him.

“It’s much easier to say the right things than it is to have the habits needed to get the job done daily. He hasn’t been locked in defensively for at least a decade. His focus has been on grabbing rebounds instead of getting out on shooters and making rotations. He loses his man off-ball a lot, too. I don’t see those things changing overnight.”

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Breaking game plans, especially on defense, can be extremely detrimental to the team. If Westbrook goes rogue to grab a rebound or is losing his man off the ball, it sets the team up for failure as opponents will take advantage of it.

Stat hunting is something that has been tied to Westbrook for a while now. He does the same thing sometimes offensively when hunting assists, looking to make a play so that it can count for his ledger.

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However, it is not his playmaking that is a weakness offensively. Instead, it is his inefficiency, which was on display during his first season with the Lakers. As the scout said, it is tough to see major changes being made in one off-season.

“The decline in Westbrook’s mid-range game has been concerning. He used to be money from the elbows. He doesn’t really have much of a functional game within the half-court at all anymore, and he doesn’t have that same burst in transition, either. It’s tough to see his shooting mechanics drastically improve in one summer.”

Los Angeles could look to use Westbrook in more of a 3-and-D role this upcoming season. Even if he buys in and is willing to adjust his style of play, his skill set isn’t conducive to success in such a role. He is a 30.5 percent 3-point shooter in his career. His ability to get to the rim with explosiveness is what put fears into opposing defenses, not his jump shot.

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With his athleticism beginning to decrease, Westbrook doesn’t have much to fall back on offensively. There have been some videos of him working hard on his shooting mechanics, which is certainly encouraging. However, could it be too little too late?

In a few weeks, we will see if Westbrook can produce to the level that Los Angeles needs him to. It could come in a new role as well, as nothing has been guaranteed to Westbrook in terms of a starting spot.