Russell Westbrook and the Los Angeles Lakers have been mainstays in the headlines this season. Unfortunately, more often than not, it has not been for a good reason. Considering the Lakers are struggling to even stay in playoff contention this season, fans have called out the team many times.
Usually, the primary target of backlash for the purple and gold this season has been former NBA MVP, Russell Westbrook. Brodie was brought to the Lakers in hopes of turning them into a superteam. But Russ has not played like himself for most games in the 2021-22 season.
Fortunately, against the Orlando Magic, fans got to see a better version of Westbrook on the court. It could have been a direct result of what happened in the previous game of the Lakers. Head coach Frank Vogel benched Russ during the crunch time and it created huge turmoil around the NBA world.
Westbrook himself reacted to that decision taken by Frank Vogel. Many even thought that this could mean that Russ will be looking for a way out of the Lakers before the trade deadline. Well, whatever be the case, Brodie certainly brought his A-game to the table against the Orlando Magic.
Upon seeing a confident performance from Westbrook, his teammate LeBron James praised him for playing with full focus on this game and contributing to the victory. In the postgame conference LeBron said:
"That’s one game. I think he let last game go and was focused on this game, he was focused on the new game on the new trip. He’s a head of the snake when it comes to being our point guard. He puts us into position, his attacks are great. He did a good job of getting into the paint either for his shot or spraying out and guys just played off of his energy and effort tonight on both ends of the floor and it was a great team effort."
Westbrook finished the game against the Magic with 18 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals while shooting 47% from the field. Moreover, he also limited his turnovers to just 3 in this fixture.
It was an overall great performance from the Lakers guard and if he can continue playing at this level, there is no way the franchise will even think about trading him. But can he do that consistently? That remains a huge question.