Westbrook has always been a divisive figure in the NBA and fans knew that he would either greatly help or hurt LA.
So far, Westbrook has not been the star Los Angeles was hoping for.
In fact, Westbrook has come up short in multiple ways and hasn’t been performing well consistently.
When you look at the entirety of the trade, you know that the Lakers are kicking themselves right now – but things might still turn around.
Westbrook’s season with LA started out poorly.
In his first game, he only produced eight points and racked up four turnovers.
Throughout the beginning of the season, Westbrook would be wildly inconsistent: 33 points, eight points, 29 points, 12 points.
If there was only one consistency in his game it was his turnovers: he was creating the most turnovers in the entire NBA with an average of five per game.
Initially, Westbrook was only hitting 25 percent of his threes and his free-throw percentage was just 47.8.
He hasn’t remained at those lows but the team has lost a lot of time as Westbrook attempted to fit in with the new crew and play to the best of his abilities.
He still isn’t where he needs to be but he’s slowly but surely adjusting to playing with LA and getting better.
But is the damage already done?
What LA Lost
Setting aside Westbrook’s statistical shortcomings, the trade is made even more painful when the Lakers take a good look at the players they gave up.
The Washington Wizards have agreed to trade Russell Westbrook, 2024 second-round pick, 2028 second-round pick to the Los Angeles Lakers for Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell and No. 22 tonight, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 30, 2021
At the time, you could understand where the Lakers were coming from because none of those three players were doing incredibly well in purple and gold.
However, they have all turned their games around now.
In fact, the Wizards are fifth in the East, partly because of the help from those three players who seem much more comfortable in Washington than in LA.
But the Lakers didn’t just trade away those three guys.
Among those players, a few of them are breaking out like superstars for their new teams, most notably Caruso and Schroder.
AYO TO AC ALLEY-OOP 💥 pic.twitter.com/RmmL59OZuL
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) December 3, 2021
All of these improvements suggest that if LA were to have waited another season and actually nurtured these young talents they would have had a much better team – even without Westbrook.
Many fans are now looking at the new Lakers lineup and wishing for the old one, especially since the Lakers are barely hanging onto their .500 record and have been experiencing injuries and embarrassing losses.
The Road Ahead
Right now the Westbrook trade looks like a mistake but there is a chance that things will turn around soon.
Even people inside the team said that it was going to take a while for this new lineup to find its footing and start working seamlessly.
Plus, for all of the problems Westbrook has had, he might be putting it behind him.
Over the past seven games, he has been averaging 23.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 8.6 assists on 49.6 percent shooting with a turnover rate of only 3.6 times a game.
Additionally, he seems to be making better judgment calls on the floor and has more of a fire in his belly.
If Westbrook has indeed turned a corner, the Lakers might end up being a championship contender again.
However, right now the Westbrook trade is more lackluster than blockbuster.