Russell Westbrook was one of the most criticized players this season. He was inconsistent for the Los Angeles Lakers this season, and thus, was the target of a lot of hate from fans.
One of the reasons that fans grew sour on Russell Westbrook was due to his defense. Analyst Zach Lowe even claimed that Russell Westbrook is a defensive disaster, and no longer a superstar.
"I think it's just time to call a spade a spade: Russ is not a superstar. Whatever your definition of a superstar, when I hear that word, what I hear is could make an All-NBA team this year kind of player. Russ just isn't that player anymore. Defensively, he's a disaster."
Darvin Ham has recently claimed that one of his goals for Russell Westbrook for next season is for him to get back to "guarding at a championship level" and to "set a tone defensively" for the Los Angeles Lakers.
“We talked in our conversations and the biggest word we used was ‘sacrifice and everything else is gonna flow from there… I want him to set a tone defensively for our team. Just get back to guarding, guarding, guarding… I want him to get back to guarding at a championship level.”
If Russell Westbrook makes defensive improvements next season, then the Los Angeles Lakers could potentially become a much better team. There is no doubt that Russell Westbrook can still contribute to a team winning, but he has to not play beyond himself and contribute in a smaller role next to Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
Hopefully, we see the Los Angeles Lakers get back to contending ways next season. There's no doubt that they could get back to the playoffs if things shake right for them, and perhaps their performances will improve under coach Darvin Ham.