After Russell Westbrook’s dismal 2021-22 season, people are undermining his NBA legacy. New Lakers coach Darvin Ham is hoping for a turnaround this year.
Unsurprisingly, it all started with a wild, off-the-cuff claim by Colin Cowherd.
Cowherd wanted to distinguish Draymond Green as the ever-helpful teammate, but in doing so, he made sure to drag NBA players like Carmelo Anthony, Russell Westbrook and John Wall. Unlike Green, none of the aforementioned players ever did anything to help their teammates, declared Cowherd.
Oklahoma City Thunder beat writer Brandon Rahbar, who stood witness to Westbrook’s career in OKC, quickly countered Colin’s claim with convincing statistics. Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal saw some of their best seasons with Westbrook as their teammate, while the Warriors didn’t fare well with Draymond Green alone in 2020.
Kendrick Perkins also chimed in, citing the incredulity of claiming a three-time NBA assists leader was unhelpful to teammates.
Despite this, there were detractors like Cowherd and others saying that Westbrook does not make his surrounding cast better, regardless of the stats cited by Rahbar and Perkins. And in truth, Westbrook’s 2021-22 season was so disastrous that the recent past seems to have tarnished the decade-long legacy that built him to that coveted spot with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Russell Westbrook’s entire legacy is being challenged this season, and Darvin Ham will have to restore it
How bad is it for Russell Westbrook?
For starters, a reporter recently asked him if he would be coming off the bench next season, to which Westbrook just laughed.
Newly-appointed Lakers head coach Darvin Ham captured the sentiment perfectly: everyone now acts as if Westbrook has only played one season in the NBA instead of 14 seasons.
Rather than shying away from using Westbrook, Ham looks forward to bringing him back to compete at a championship level.
“I want him to go back to being a pitbull on the defensive end, and everything is going to go from there,” Ham said.
Despite Ham’s public endorsement of Westbrook, people are still not taking Westbrook’s future in Los Angeles seriously.
Rumors continue to circulate that Westbrook may have already spent his last season in Los Angeles, but it appears that Darvin Ham wants a season with him to see if he can bring back the Westbrook of yesteryear.
It was a terrible season for Westbrook, one that understandably frustrated Lakers fans and even Westbrook himself. But it was just that — one season, one that Westbrook still has a chance to redeem himself for to maintain his legacy.