Russell Westbrook’s tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers will go down in infamy.
The former MVP was never a good fit on that roster, and one didn’t have to be a basketball savant to realize that.
The Lakers’ issues ran way deeper than Westbrook, yet he was often the scapegoat and fall guy for Rob Pelinka’s shortcomings in building the roster.
And not even embracing a sixth man role was enough to shift the narrative around him, with some sources within the organization taking shots at him even after he was traded.
That’s why former NBA player Matt Barnes believes this run with the Los Angeles Clippers could determine Westbrook’s future in the league.
Barnes knows firsthand what it’s like to have a negative narrative around you, so he thinks Russ needs to prove himself if he wants to play for another season:
“I think Russ’ future is really gonna hinge on these next 25 games plus this playoff run, because once they start talking one way about you, and GM start feeling a certain way — I think this is one of the most critical runs in Russell Westbrook’s career if he wants to play beyond this,” Barnes said.
“Russ’s future is going to hinge on these next 25 games.” As Russell Westbrook makes his Clippers debut, @Matt_Barnes22 and @DaTrillStak5 say they think this new partnership is going to work…in part because Russ knows it has to. 🌟 link to full pod in bio pic.twitter.com/PvZm6DrKnH
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 24, 2023
Needless to say, Westbrook’s résumé speaks for itself, and there’s no way to keep that man out of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as soon as he becomes eligible.
But the media already did that to Allen Iverson back in the day, and they almost did it to Carmelo Anthony not so long ago.
We’ve seen so many great players leave the league without a proper farewell tour, and Westbrook might be the next in line.
So, he’ll have 25 games to silence his critics one last time and prove that he still has plenty left in that tank and get all that much-earned respect back once and for all.NEXT: Russell Westbrook Reveals Why He Doesn't Take The NBA For Granted