Russell Westbrook wasn’t just a problem on the court last season, he was also having issues during film sessions. The Los Angeles Lakers guard was reportedly combative throughout the 2021-22 season in film sessions when coaches pointed out mistakes.
“From stuff I heard last season, like during film sessions, he would you know push back on stuff that was very obvious of like, ‘Hey, you missed this defensive rotation’. He did not like being the center of attention in those film sessions,” Johan Buva said on The Athletic NBA Show.
Westbrook was the most durable of the big three last year as he started 78 games for the Lakers in 2021-22. The nine-time All-Star and one-time MVP averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4% from the field, 29.8% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free-throw line.
However, he was never truly a fit for the team as the team went 31-47 in Westbrook’s 78 appearances and didn’t qualify for the play-in tournament.
In April, Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times reported that Westbrook never respected Frank Vogel, who was fired after the season. Westbrook got into a heated argument with Vogel in training camp and things never got better as the season progressed.
“Russ never respected Frank from Day 1,” said one Lakers staff member with knowledge of the situation. “The moment Frank said anybody who gets the rebound can bring it up the court, which is just how the NBA is played these days, Russ was like, ‘Naw, I’m the point guard. Give the ball to me. Everybody run.’ Frank was like, ‘No, we have Talen [Horton-Tucker]. We have Austin [Reaves]. We have Malik [Monk]. We have LeBron [James]. We have AD [Anthony Davis]. They can all bring the ball up.’ He was like, ‘Nope, I’m the point guard. Give me that s—. Everybody get out the way.’ From that point on, in training camp, it was a wrap, ‘cause now Russ is a fish out of water. He doesn’t know what to do. That’s how that started.”
The Lakers might want to trade him, but no team seems willing to take on his contract. It looks like the big three will be running it back.