Russell Westbrook had a very bad game on Thursday night. The Los Angeles Lakers guard scored two points in 27 minutes on 0-for-11 shooting against the Los Angeles Clippers in another nationally televised loss. It was hard to watch, but at least Westbrook played hard. Just ask him.
"Solid. Solid. Played hard. That's all you can ask for."
I'd argue that for $47 million this season, you could and should ask for more out of a player, but it's apparently unfair to ask that according to Westbrook's former teammates, who seem to love him universally. Paul George, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds in the Clippers win, suggested people focus on all that Westbrook has accomplished in his career.
"I don't get the shade or the hate or the stuff that's throw at him. He's one of the best players that's ever played this game. I think it's hard when you've got the pressure that they're putting on him here. Quite frankly its not the the team that's very geared for him with the roster that they have with him as well. It's got to work both ways. He was very easily a 30-10-10 guy when he had the keys to the team. So you can't forget about that."
Kevin Durant also came out in support of Westbrook this week on his podcast.
As did Bradley Beal a few weeks ago on JJ Redick's podcast.
The common theme here is that people really like Russell Westbrook. He must be a really fun guy to hang around. We determined last year that there's definitely a perception problem for Westbrook who admitted on The Daily Show that convincing people he's not an asshole is the biggest challenge in his life.
He's clearly a good guy. His former teammates could simply no comment or deflect if they didn't want to say as much. But the criticism of Westbrook, is very valid right now. He was bad last night. He cannot shoot, which is the biggest thing the Lakers are lacking, and he is kind of embarrassing himself and the team with the public debate over whether he should come off the bench or if he even physically can without hurting himself.
There's just no way this ends well for Westbrook, which will be fine in the long run as he makes the Hall of Fame and is celebrated by the many people who know him and played with him. But for now he deserves the criticism. Sorry if you don't want to hear it.