The Russell Westbrook experiment has not gone as expected for the Los Angeles Lakers. While he isn't to blame for the lack of good depth on the roster, there are definitely times where Russell Westbrook has fallen short.
During the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Indiana Pacers on January 19th, Russell Westbrook was benched by Frank Vogel to finish the game. After the game ended, Frank Vogel claimed that he was just trying to play the players who would help the Lakers win.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN has recently reported that there was concern in the organization about how Russell Westbrook would react to the benching, as he was often "defensive" when "singled out" in film sessions.
For weeks, the staff had considered benching Westbrook at a moment like this. Team sources said there was always concern as to how he’d react to such a move. Would he get defensive, as he often had when he felt like he was being singled out in film sessions? Would it erode the confidence that is so important to his game?
When Vogel finally did it, it was as understandable as it was stunning.
“Frank ripped the Band-Aid off,” one team source said.
The concerns about Russell Westbrook's confidence eroding after getting benched were certainly unfounded. Since the Lakers-Pacers game, Westbrook has averaged 21.0 PPG, 10.0 RPG, and 8.0 APG, and he has definitely been playing some good basketball.
Russell Westbrook is still a great player, and there is no doubt that he is a positive to the Los Angeles Lakers when playing well. He is a very good playmaker, and he thrives when consistently driving to the rim. With that being said, there are times when he can be a detriment to the team when shooting poorly and turning the ball over. Hopefully, we see the good version of Russell Westbrook going forward.