Should Russell Westbrook Retire?

Moelony Cameron, Staff Writer

The former triple-double king is getting much of the blame for the Lakers’ struggles. 

Without a doubt, Russell Westbrook is one of the best NBA players and will get inducted into the Hall of Fame. He had an amazing career with the Oklahoma City Thunder. According to ESPN, he averaged 23 points, 8.4 assists and 7.0 rebounds in 821 games with the Thunder. He averaged a triple double for an entire season more than four times in a five-year span. But considering his most recent season with the Los Angeles Lakers, should Westbrook consider retirement?

Westbrook used to be considered as an offensive threat, but now he is being called an anchor that brings a team down with him. During the 2021-22 season, the Lakers were trying to trade Westbrook but could not find a great trade deal. Even if he was traded, any team that would receive him would reportedly waive him. The Lakers had so many opportunities during last season to take Westbrook off the roster, but the team wanted more than what Westbrook was actually worth. Last season’s record for the Lakers was a playoff-less 33-49, which is disappointing for a team with big stars such as Lebron James and Anthony Davis. They are also a team that had so many great and historic championship runs. 

Anyone who watched a Laker game or attended one could see how inconsistent the whole team was, but can the blame be solely on one player? The Lakers have a few issues that have impacted their season’s results so far. During the trade deadline last season, the Lakers  needed another ball handler because James and Davis were dealing with injuries. The Raptors had a deal proposed to the Lakers, but the Lakers did not want to give up Talen Horton-Tucker, but they should have. Horton-Tucker is young, but he does not fit with the Lakers’ timeline with Lebron James and Anthony Davis.

 Another mistake by the Lakers was not re-signing Alex Caruso. If the Lakers matched the Chicago Bulls’ almost 40 million dollar offer to Caruso, the Lakers would have a decent shooter to rely on when James and Davis are injured. Looking at statistics of the last season for the Lakers, the blame can’t be put on Westbrook for the bad season when Anthony Davis spent more time injured rather than playing. When he came back from an MCL injury, his shooting fell off dramatically and his defense wasn’t as great compared to when the Lakers won the title in the bubble.

Even though Westbrook’s defense and shooting has contributed to the Lakers’ poor performances, last season the team was not worse because of him. The issue lies with the management. The poor choices management has made with this flawed roster is the main cause, along, with some smaller issues, but Westbrook should still have a bright future in this league as a 6th man, not a starting point guard on a championship caliber team.

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