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After a dud of a Christmas Day performance from Lakers guard Russell Westbrook, Shannon Sharpe is the latest to give up on the 32-year-old triple-double machine. I’ve been driving home the fact that fans must watch the games to determine Russ’s impact rather than staring at stat sheets — the always hilarious Shannon Sharpe has finally hopped aboard my philosophy.
“Russ doesn’t get it,” Sharpe said on FS1’s “Undisputed” with Skip Bayless. “No body expects you or wants you to have 25-15-15, we want you to stop turning the ball over and playing out of control, especially in crucial situations. Russ has to stop thinking everything is fine when you’re 9th seed in the West.”
"Russ doesn't get it. Nobody expects you or wants you to have 25-15-15, we want you to stop turning the ball over and playing out of control, especially in crucial situations. Russ has to stop thinking everything is fine when you're the 9th seed in the West."
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) December 28, 2021
Shannon Sharpe is exactly right that Westbrook needs to start taking accountability for the team’s inability to mesh. Media members spent all pre-season telling basketball fans how the James/Davis/Westbrook trio would need time to figure out how to be effective together, yet Davis’ struggles have been largely health related and Russ can’t stop giving the ball to the other team. At times, it feels like he’s rigging the end of games.
And yes, turnovers usually decline as players play together, however Russ’s inability to secure or shoot the basketball at a high clip has been an issue since he was 22. These complaints of “playing out of control” or “turning the ball over” were said back when Kevin Durant, Westbrook, and James Harden were teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Since then, Harden has become much more efficient on the ball and Durant has become arguably the best player in the world. Russ, on the other hand, has gotten worse at just about everything — Turnover rate is an all-time NBA high (4.7/game), free throw percentage is lowest of his career (64.6%), and he’s a human turnstile on the defensive end.
Players of all ages and skill groups are driving by Westbrook at will and it’s destroying the “defense first” identity the Lakers possessed the past three seasons with James and Davis leading the charge. So will Russell Westbrook listen to Sharpe’s message? It’s not likely since he’s been enabled by countless peers that’ve never played alongside mr. triple-double. LeBron approved of the deal that would send Westbrook to the purple and gold this past offseason rather than acquiring a 3-point sniper like Buddy Hield from the Kings. A massive mistake that essentially guaranteed LeBron a title-less finish to his career.
Shannon Sharpe and I will be shouting til we’re blue in the face because Russell Westbrook refuses to take any accountability. If Lakers GM Rob Pelinka can pull off a magic trick by trading the veteran guard for literally anything that can help, he should win a Nobel Peace Prize.
And I had to leave everyone with one of the funniest videos in NBA history:
Russell Westbrook gotta go:
— Gary Sheffield Jr. (@GarysheffieldJr) December 27, 2021