The Los Angeles Lakers‘ nightmare season continues. Frank Vogel’s squad suffered yet another loss, this time to the resurgent Minnesota Timberwolves. It was a rough night for the entire team, but especially Russell Westbrook. The Lakers guard is struggling through one of the worst seasons of his NBA career, and the Timberwolves had no problem letting him know.
Westbrook claimed the taunts from Patrick Beverley and Karl-Anthony Towns didn’t bother him during the postgame press conference. ESPN analyst Jay Williams doesn’t care for the former MVP’s remarks and suggests all of the drama is a bad look for his legacy.
Jay Williams rips Russell Westbrook for his postgame comments
Russell Westbrook’s first season with the LA Lakers hasn’t been smooth sailing. He had another rough outing against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Westbrook finished with 15 points, five assists, four rebounds, and two steals. It was another inefficient night, as he shot just 41.7% from the field, 25% from behind the arc, and 66.7% from the free-throw line.
The Wolves players certainly took note of Westbrook’s struggles and let him have it all night. After the game, reporters asked the Lakers guard about the trash talk and if it affected him at all.
“I honestly don’t pay no mind to it,” Westbrook said per ESPN‘s Ohm Youngmisuk. “Maybe the other guys. But they weren’t talking to me. They were talking to individual guys particularly, but the trash talking doesn’t bother me none. Nobody over there has done anything in this league that would make me pick my eyes up, like, ‘Oh, they’re talking mess. Let me respond.’ No.”
ESPN’s Jay Williams weighed in on the postgame comments on KJM.
“When you lose in LA, you become irrelevant,” Williams said. “They’ve turned this into the Russell Westbrook live reality show. You can clap back at them, saying none of these guys have done anything because you are a former MVP. But your play on the court speaks exponentially louder than any words you could ever speak at a post presser about what you did a long time ago. What are you doing now?”
The Timberwolves succeeded at getting under the Lakers’ skin
With the loss to the Timberwolves, the Lakers fall to 29-40 on the season. Surely, this team had much higher expectations than this. When you’re losing, it’s easy to get frustrated. The Wolves, who are 41-30 and seventh in the Western Conference, took advantage of an emotionally defeated team.
Patrick Beverley and Russell Westbrook have history, and he gets up anytime he faces the nine-time All-Star. The veteran loves to get under the skin of his opponents. Beverley called Westbrook “trash” after the Lakers star committed a turnover.
Later in the game, Westbrook air-balled a three-point shot attempt. Karl-Anthony Towns grabbed the rebound, then looked in the air with a confused face to mock the point guard.
Westbrook wants to give off the impression that the trash-talk doesn’t phase him. However, it must be frustrating that the team is underperforming and lacks chemistry.
LA’s struggles have undoubtedly bothered LeBron James. He was visibly annoyed as the game got out of hand, and that’s been a theme lately. Russell Westbrook isn’t playing like an elite player, while Anthony Davis is on the sidelines. As a result, the Lakers are in danger of missing the playoffs.
Williams believes the past few seasons are hurting the former MVP’s legacy
After playing 11 seasons for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook has been unable to find a consistent home. He joined the Houston Rockets in 2019, but they traded him to the Washington Wizards after just one season. Washington then shipped the All-Star guard to LA ahead of the 2021 season.
While Jay Williams acknowledges Westbrook’s greatness, he argues it’s not a good look that teams keep giving up on him.
“It’s crazy over the past five or six years, what’s happened to this man’s legacy,” said Williams. “From him being that MVP-caliber player to now potentially next year going to his fifth team in five years. We’re talking more about how he reacts to fans, people disrespecting his last name, him shooting airballs, his attire. We’re talking about everything other than him on the court.”
The Lakers don’t appear to be on the path to turning this thing around anytime soon. Unfortunately, they’re starting to run out of time. If a team that features LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook misses the playoffs, it would be a massive disappointment. It could lead to Westbrook playing elsewhere in 2022.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference