Russell Westbrook has been bombarded with hate and criticism since the early days of the season. After his failed season with Bradley Beal in D.C., he joined a Lakers squad that needed his absolute best.
Instead, they got him at his worst and in a situation that seemed ill-suited for his talents.
On ESPN's 'Get Up,' former player Jalen Rose went into some detail on why Russ has struggled with the Lakeshow this season, and what the Lakers will need from him going forward if they are to find some kind of success.
"When Russell Westbrook is at his best, he needs the basketball and he needs to dominate the basketball. That allows him to get a rhythm to play at his maximum. When LeBron James has the basketball, that means Russ is off the ball. He's not a spot-up shooter, he's not gonna do much cutting and so he can't be as effective. His game has to be energy and when we talk about the top teams in the West, let me tell you they actually really need from Russ. Defense at the point of attack. The top teams in the West have a backcourt of CP3 and Devin Booker, the Splash Brothers in Golden State and you got just mentioned Ja Morant."
In OKC, Westbrook was free to control the ball and play the game on his terms. He controlled the offense, which is why he was able to keep his teammate involved while scoring at a high rate.
In Los Angeles, Russ' ball control is being limited thanks to guys like Lebron James and others who take matters into their own hands.
Perhaps it's time for L.A. to trust Westbrook and give the ball to him more throughout games. As for Westbrook, he needs to show some improvement on defense if the Lakers want any hope of slowing down other Western Conference backcourts.
A lot of work needs to be done for both sides, and time is running out to find the perfect formula for success.