Ahead of L.A.'s final game of the season, Anthony Davis took a minute to speak on where things went wrong.
Specifically, he talked about Russell Westbrook and why he failed to adjust to a Lakers team stacked with some of the best players in the world.
"People see things when Russ was in OKC and D.C. and how he played. Two totally different teams -- well, three totally different teams. Russ, how he was in OKC, having triple-doubles we necessarily didn't need that this year. Same way he played in D.C.: Brad Beal was out, so it was only Russ and they put guys around him. We didn't need that Russ. So everybody -- when I got here, I didn't play the same way I played with Bron. Bron had to change, everybody had to change.
Everybody had to make sacrifices. It was tough for him to adjust to that. It was tough for me to adjust to that when I first got here playing with somebody of Bron's caliber, because I was used to 'OK, here, get the ball to AD, and we'll figure it out.' And Bron's used to having the ball in his hands, and so is Russ. So when you try to get out of each other's way, it takes time. And we didn't have a lot of time because either I was out or he, Bron, was out. And so a lot of blame isn't directed toward Russ, and he got a lot of it this year from the fans and media."
With averages of 18.5 points, 7.1 assists, and 3.8 turnovers per game on 44% shooting, Russ has been getting slammed with blame and criticism all season long. As a flawed player on his first run with the team, he was an easy target for fans and analysts. But the real problem with the Lakers goes much deeper than just Westbrook.
It's about a team that failed to sacrifice. Thanks to new arrivals, injuries, and a host of other changes, the 17x Champs just couldn't figure out how to play together and ran out of time to set things straight.
The real question now is, what comes next? We know Westbrook wants to run things back, but will the Lakers give him a chance?
Whatever happens, you can bet GM Rob Pelinka will be hard at work re-tooling his team for a better showing next season. Maybe then, Russ can have the redemption arc that would be all too fitting for this point of his career.