Russell Westbrook is once again making headlines amidst the Los Angeles Lakers' struggle-filled season. He told reporters on Monday that he feels the talk about his problematic play and issues with fit within the Lakers are overblown. Simply stated, Westbrook said he feels like he's been playing "fine." Per ESPN:
"Honestly, I think I've been fine," Westbrook said. "The conversation has been heavily on how I'm playing and what I'm doing, but I think people are expecting me to have f---ing 25, 15 and 15, which, that is not normal. Everybody has to understand, like, that's not a normal thing that people do consistently."
He is averaging 19.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 8.1 assists this season on 45 percent shooting from the floor, which is certainly a "fine" statline. The problem is that Westbrook isn't getting paid $44 million this season to be "fine." That's superstar money, and superstar money demands superstar play. Then there's the fact that the point guard is suiting up for the Lakers in Los Angeles next to LeBron James. "Fine" is just not good enough in those circumstances.
Skip Bayless took all that one step further and called it "dangerous delusion" on the part of Westbrook.
Bayless is an unashamed Lakers hater with a capital H but he is correct. If Westbrook thinks his current level of play is fine, his team is screwed. Perhaps his flaws are being a touch overblown when taking injury to his teammates into account, but Los Angeles is currently ninth in the Western Conference. Even with context, whatever is happening on the court simply is not working.
There is, of course, a middle ground here. Westbrook's play can be objectively fine given what he offers statistically and still not be enough for the Lakers to win games. That's just not an acceptable arrangement for a team with championship expectations paying Westbrook as much as they are. Dangerous delusion, it may be.