Shaquille O’Neal Personally Gave Russell Westbrook Blunt Advice While Watching the Roller-Coaster Lakers Courtside

There is no way to sugarcoat it: Russell Westbrook has struggled mightily with Los Angeles Lakers. Westbrook’s shortcomings have led to plenty of criticism directed toward him. However, Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal recently personally delivered some blunt advice to the star point guard.

Russell Westbrook responds to his recent fourth-quarter benching

Westbrook’s recent fourth-quarter benching has put his play in a Lakers’ uniform under a more scrutinized microscope.

The star point guard’s struggles to adjust remain a persistent issue, forcing him to address it again after the team’s road win over the Orlando Magic.

“My job as a player, as a professional, is to do my job, continue to find ways to be able to help impact winning,” Westbrook said via ESPN. “That’s all I was thinking about and turned the page to do and that’s what I tried to do tonight.”

He put together a solid all-around performance with 18 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, and three steals. He impacted the game on both ends of the floor, guiding the Lakers back to the .500 mark, sitting at a 23-23 record.

His performance comes a game after head coach Frank Vogel decided to sit Westbrook for the final three minutes and 52 seconds of the fourth quarter in last Wednesday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers. Vogel has since backed Westbrook by praising his handling of the challenging situation.

“Russ is a high-character guy,” Vogel said. “We knew we were going to respond. We communicated afterwards to make sure that we understood what was going on — we’re just coaching to win the game. And to turn the page on to Orlando. And he did a great job maintaining that focus and we’re all committed to this group getting the job done. We still believe in what we can be. It’s been bumpy throughout the course of the year. But we’re committed.”

Westbrook’s struggles to find any consistency have led to significant criticism directed at him amid the Lakers’ shortcomings. It’s pushed a former Lakers great to deliver advice to him first-hand.

Shaquille O’Neal personally gave Russell Westbrook blunt advice while watching the roller-coaster Lakers courtside

As Westbrook’s ongoing struggles persist, the chatter around him will stay prevalent.

Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal attended Friday’s game between the Lakers and Magic, where he chatted with Westbrook during the contest. In a now-viral video, O’Neal is heard telling the former league MVP that he’s “playing way too f***ing fast.”

It’s a common criticism that Westbrook has heard in recent years. His play is often described as one speed, contributing to his struggles in late-game situations regarding his decision-making. However, he has become quite headstrong with sticking to the playing style that has helped him become of the league’s top talents.

Those concerns have only ramped up with the Lakers, as he’s struggled to contribute with reliable play in his new role. Injuries have played a significant factor, but Westbrook hasn’t made notable progress toward finding a comfortable spot.

Time will tell whether he takes O’Neal’s advice to heart, but it could only help him find his footing.

Lakers will have to stick it through with Russell Westbrook

The Lakers may already want to move on from Westbrook, but he’s become an unmovable piece due to his massive remaining contract.

The 33-year-old is in the fourth year of his five-year, $206.8 million deal that pays him $44.2 million this year and holds a $47 million player option for the 2022-23 campaign. In other words, Los Angeles will have to ride it through with the star point guard for the remainder of the season.

However, it provides Westbrook the opportunity to turn it around to prove he can help push the franchise toward NBA title contention. Anthony Davis’s imminent return should only help the Lakers’ second-half push toward the playoffs.

The clock is ticking on the Lakers, but time remains to figure it out.

Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.

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