Lakers Superstar Didn’t like Being Called Out During Film Sessions: Report

Lakers stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook

Getty Lakers stars LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook

One of the best players on the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly didn’t like being called out during film sessions last season.

The Athletic’s Jovan Buha reported on July 20 that Russell Westbrook was combative throughout the 2021-22 season in film sessions when coaches pointed out his mistakes.

“From stuff I heard last season, like during film sessions, he would, you know, push back on stuff that was very obvious of like, ‘Hey, you missed this defensive rotation.’ He did not like being the center of attention in those film sessions,” Buha said on The Athletic NBA Show.

Westbrook started 78 games for the Lakers in 2021-22. The nine-time All-Star and one-time MVP averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting 44.4% from the field, 29.8% from beyond the arc and 66.7% from the free-throw line.

The Lakers went 31-47 in Westbrook’s 78 appearances and didn’t qualify for the play-in tournament despite having the second-best preseason odds to win the championship.

Westbrook Never Respected Frank Vogel

According to an April 8 report from Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Westbrook never respected Frank Vogel, who was fired after the season. Westbrook got into a heated argument with Vogel in training camp and things never got better as the season progressed.

“Russ never respected Frank from Day 1,” said one Lakers staff member with knowledge of the situation. “The moment Frank said anybody who gets the rebound can bring it up the court, which is just how the NBA is played these days, Russ was like, ‘Naw, I’m the point guard. Give the ball to me. Everybody run.’ Frank was like, ‘No, we have Talen [Horton-Tucker]. We have Austin [Reaves]. We have Malik [Monk]. We have LeBron [James]. We have AD [Anthony Davis]. They can all bring the ball up.’ He was like, ‘Nope, I’m the point guard. Give me that s—. Everybody get out the way.’ From that point on, in training camp, it was a wrap, ‘cause now Russ is a fish out of water. He doesn’t know what to do. That’s how that started.”

Westbrook finished second in the NBA in turnovers last season and posted an effective field goal percentage of 47.6%, which was sixth-worst in the league. The Lakers have tried to trade the veteran guard multiple times this offseason.

However, since Westbrook played poorly last season and will make $47.1 million in 2022-23, rival teams are asking Los Angeles to give up multiple draft picks to take on Westbrook and the purple and gold have been hesitant to do that.

Westbrook Went Nuclear Last Time He Spoke to Media

Westbrook went off on Vogel and the Lakers organization during his exit interview in April. The future Hall of Famer held nothing back throughout his 21-minute post-exit-interview press conference.

“I think it’s unfortunate to be honest because I’ve never had an issue with any of my coaches before,” Westbrook said. “I’m not sure what his issue was with me or I’m not sure why, but I can’t really give you an answer to why we really never connected. That’s something that he has to answer, but I never, from the get-go, was feeling like (we were on the same page.) I was having to try to prove myself to him and my capabilities and what I’ve been able to do for this game and it’s unfortunate but it’s really not (my fault). It’s kind of out of my hands.

“When I first got here, unfortunately, people create narratives of who I am and what I do and what I believe in that just aren’t true. I’m always having to prove myself again year after year after year, which to me is really unfair. There’s no reason for me to have to do that. So when I first got in here, I just felt that I never was given a fair chance just to be who I needed to be to help this team.”

Westbrook and his longtime agent, Thad Foucher of Wasserman, parted ways on July 15. Buha reported on July 18 that the split “caught several people around the Lakers off guard.”

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