After putting on one of his best performances of the season on Wednesday, Russell Westbrook proved he's capable of having a positive influence on the floor for the Lakers.
And now, in the absence of Anthony Davis once again, Russ has the chance to step up and regain the trust of frustrated Lakers fans.
“Russell Westbrook has to step up. We keep talking about it, but here’s his time to shut up all the haters, all the people that said, ‘he has lost it, he’s on the decline.’ It’s his time! I wanna see some 30 point nights, I wanna see him and LeBron James be able to co-exist. He has no excuse whatsoever, AD is out of the picture he has to elevate his game. That's what's up for the Lakers."
Even with 13 years of experience under his belt, this campaign with the Purple and Gold has become his hardest challenge yet. The past 57 games have been a major struggle for the former MVP, who is averaging 18.3 points on just 43.7% shooting so far.
It has been an even bigger struggle for the Lakers, who are just 27-31 on the season.
Through it all, Russ has been at the center of blame and criticism, with many pointing to his flaws on both ends of the floor as the biggest reason for the team's downslide.
Whatever the case, it's unlikely Russ moves anywhere any time soon. He's a Lakers for at least the rest of this season and probably more. All he can do now is go out there and prove he belongs.
With Davis out, and LeBron James at 37-years-old, there is no better time than now for Russell Westbrook to remind the world of just who he is.