Russell Westbrook had another cursed Sunday against the Timberwolves, even though the Lakers won, 108-103. Westbrook nearly had a double double with points and turnovers in this game. Russ scored 20 but had nine turnovers in the process with just five assists. After the game, Westbrook applauded the notion that the game was not going well.
“My game, you know, is fine” Westbrook told ESPN. “My game is not about shooting or turning the ball. Like, I miss a few shots, it’s part of the game. I’m allowed to miss. I can do it. Like any other player, I can do it. I can also turn the ball. I can do it. It’s all part of the game. “
The proof is in the pudding right here. Westbrook doesn’t care about turnovers or missed shots. He doesn’t think they matter in the grand scheme of a game. Westbrook didn’t secure another triple double, but he scored 20 points and the Lakers won. I guess that’s all that matters. Oh, those turnovers and misses count. They matter a lot. Los Angeles is 19-19 with a list containing four future Hall of Famers.
This may not be the kind of season Westbrook envisioned after learning he was traded to his hometown team last offseason. Certainly not what LeBron James had in mind as he entered the season with his optimistic view of this roster. The entire team has been on the fight bus since the season opener in October. There was a play in the first quarter of the win over Minnesota where James tripped on a breakaway, and Westbrook simply lost the ball as he came up for a dunk without anyone contesting him.
Yet turnovers and missed shots don’t count. Westbrook is right that they are part of the game, of course, but another aspect of the sport is to minimize mistakes along the way. The fictional world of circles that Russ inhabits must be absolutely incredible. Usually he says these things with a straight face. And to think this is the same guy who dared to laugh at Stephen Curry at a press conference during the 2016 Western Conference Finals. No matter what the question was.
But hey, I guess it’s not all bad since Westbrook’s mindset has taken him this far. He will become a Hall of Famer once he is eligible. There is no doubt about this. His opportunities to win a ring have probably surpassed him, and he appears to be aware of them. At this point, Russ and the Lakers appear to be well on their way to a first-round exit in the postseason, which would be only the second such occurrence for James in his career.
But where does this Westbrook end up after the season? I don’t think Russ can return to the Lakers in any way next year, even if he manages to get past the February trade deadline. His massive contract is the only obstacle standing in the way. Russ is making $ 44 million this year and $ 47 million next season. It will be difficult to move that contract (again), but we all know in the NBA, where there is a will, there is a way. If they want it enough, James and Rob Pelinka will understand how to switch from Russ one way or another.