Opinions of Russell Westbrook have varied throughout the years but he’s been giving his detractors some major ammo this season. He hasn’t scored over nine points in three straight games and the Los Angeles Lakers have vastly underperformed with a 21-21 record. However, the one thing that he remains good at is trash talking.
He can still get under players’ skin with the best of them. ESPN’s Tim MacMahon did a piece about trash-talking in the NBA and revealed how players around the league feel about Westbrook’s trash talk.
“Then, there is Westbrook, who several players say is the most relentless trash-talker in the league. His motives? Self-motivation, players suppose,” MacMahon wrote.
Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker is a relentless trash talker in his own right but he gave some insight into how Westbrook approaches trash talk.
“Then I [saw] him when we played together; he’d talk s*** to get himself going every night,” Tucker said. “It has nothing to do with you. You’re just a person. You’re just the guy. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you did. You’re the guy and he’s going to talk s*** to you.
“That’s just Russ.”
While Tucker seems to admire how Westbrook goes about things, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard took a bit of a jab at the former MVP.
“I think he talks to himself out there,” Lillard said.
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Westbrook Confident He’ll Figure Things Out
Westbrook isn’t playing well right now which has to make it more difficult to keep up the trash talk. It’s no secret that the Lakers would like to trade him but they’re likely stuck with him. He’s going to have to figure things out if he hopes to help the team win a championship. He believes he’ll get back on track.
“The word ‘slump’ isn’t something I lean on,” Westbrook said after the team’s 125-116 loss to the Sacramento Kings, via ESPN. “I stay locked into my craft, figure it out. I’m just in a position to try to figure out the best way to play at the moment. It’s as simple as that.
“I’ll figure it out, and that’s that. … Figure out ways to just make a f***ing shot. That’s it.”
The easiest solution for Westbrook to stop missing shots would be to simply stop taking them. He’s one of the worst shooters in the NBA and isn’t getting better.
LeBron James Still Believes in Westbrook
The Lakers don’t appear confident in Westbrook but they have to do what they can to elevate him. LeBron James isn’t ready to pile on his superstar teammate yet. He’s going to help Westbrook as much as he can.
“Just keep working with him,” LeBron said. “Obviously he’s been putting in work, and you’re going trust the work you put into it so, he’s getting some really good looks, it’s just not going down for him.”
The Lakers are halfway through the season and don’t look anywhere close to contenders. Luckily, there’s still a long way to go before the playoffs.
“We have 42 games now [completed] and 40 left, and we want to see what we’re made of,” LeBron said. “But it’s definitely been a roller coaster so far.”