Paul George: Russell Westbrook doesn’t belong on Lakers
Clippers forward Paul George doesn’t believe the Lakers are the right fit for former teammate Russell Westbrook.
After the Clippers defeated the Lakers 103-97 on Thursday, George seemed to imply the Lakers aren’t using Westbrook correctly.
“Quite frankly it’s not the team that’s geared for him, with the roster that they have,” Westbrook told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “It’s got to work both ways. He was very easily a 30-10-10 guy when he had the keys to the team. You can’t forget about that.”
Westbrook’s shooting struggles were on display against the Clippers Thursday, with the point guard finishing 0-of-11 from the field and 0-of-6 from 3-point range. He recorded two points, which came from the free the line.
In the same breath, Paul continued to defend Westbrook, who’s been under heavy scrutiny for his shooting struggles. The All-Star guard has been at the center of trade rumors since the summer, following one of his worst offense performances last season.
“I’m always a huge Russell supporter. I won’t undermine the great moments we had in Oklahoma,” George said about playing together in Oklahoma City for two years from 2017 until 2019. “He was tremendous for my career. Honestly, I don’t get the shade or the hate or the stuff that’s thrown at him. He’s one of the best players to ever play this game. It’s hard when you’ve got the pressure they’re putting on him here.
“…I just want him to keep having that joy. Keep having that excitement that fun that’s what makes him special, the fact he can do that on a nightly basis. I hate to see that it doesn’t look like that’s there for him. But hopefully in the end it works out for him in his favor.”
Paul’s comments came after he shared public support for Westbrook in a tweet that read, “Keep ya sanity Brodie!! You one of the best and it ain’t stamped enough!!”
In the postgame Thursday, Westbrook said “solid” when asked to assess his performance.
“Played hard,” he said. “That’s all you can ask for. On to the next one.”
Lakers center Anthony Davis, along with head coach Darvin Ham, said the Lakers should keep shooting, even when shots aren’t going in.
“Don’t let missed shots take away your confidence,” said Davis, who was 2-for-4 from 3-point range, while the rest of their starters were 5-for-29. “Keep shooting it, be confident in your shot. And they’re going to fall. Ain’t nothing you can do but keep shooting.
Thursday’s game marked the Lakers’ second straight loss to the start the season. They were 10-of-40 from three in Tuesday’s opener, with Westbrook and Davis a combined 1-or-6 from deep.
LeBron James made it known Tuesday that the Lakers are aware that they’re “not a team that’s constructed of great shooting.”