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Jeanie Buss offers interesting Russell Westbrook assessment

Russell Westbrook has loved being within the higher echelon of NBA level guards for many of his profession, however final season, his first with the Los Angeles Lakers, was lower than best.

Westbrook solely averaged 18.5 factors per sport — his fewest because the 2009-10 season — led the Lakers in turnovers (3.8), and solely shot 29.8% from past the arc. He additionally shot the third-worst share from the free-throw line in his profession at 66.7% and was consistently criticized for his protection, that includes a career-worst 113.6 defensive score final season.

Despite these subpar stats, Lakers proprietor Jeanie Buss advised The Athletic’s Sam Amick that Westbrook was the staff’s “greatest” participant final season.

“All I can say is that, from my standpoint, [Westbrook] was our greatest participant final 12 months,” Buss mentioned. “He performed just about each single sport, confirmed up, labored arduous. I might have cherished to see what this staff would have seemed like if they’d stayed wholesome. It’s actually robust to win when Anthony Davis is not on the courtroom. LeBron [James] was harm numerous the season. But Russ confirmed up each sport and performed arduous each evening. And, , I simply actually admire him for who he’s and what he brings to the staff.”

Following that interview, Amick requested Buss to make clear, and she or he opted for a distinct descriptor.

“The phrase I ought to have used was ‘consistent,’” Buss mentioned. “He performed 78 video games final season.”

Westbrook was there for all however 4 video games, whereas James and Davis missed a mixed 68.

Buss’ feedback might need been in good religion, or they may have been a tactic to boost Westbrook’s diminished commerce worth, however his $47.1 million paycheck probably will not look extra enticing to different groups.

Skip Bayless believes the treatment is for the Lakers to chop their losses, pay Westbrook and transfer ahead.

James led the Lakers in scoring final season, so it is arduous to again up Buss’ preliminary assertion about Westbrook being the perfect participant on the staff. But when it got here to sport day, Westbrook was suited up and able to go.

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