What was shaping up to be a spectacular season for the Los Angeles Lakers turned out to be a disaster. Neither LeBron James, Anthony Davis nor Russell Westbrook could prevent their collapse in the NBA. And the cause remains unclear.
Inexplicable scenario when you have three monsters on the court like King James, The Brow Davis and Beastbrook. Although in Anthony's defense, it must be said that injuries were the rival that finally defeated him last season for the Lakers.
Only an experienced voice would be able to pinpoint precisely what went wrong with the Los Angeles Lakers in the previous NBA season. And that is the legendary Shaquille O'Neal, who was quick to point out why Russell Westbrook was unable to shine, even with LeBron James as his teammate.
What went wrong between Russell Westbrook and LeBron James, according to Shaquille O'Neal
Having been a four-time NBA champion gives Shaq total authority to give his opinion on what happens in the league, but having done it 3 times with the Lakers, allows him to have total credibility in any analysis regarding the team. And O'Neal has already offered his opinion on why Russell Westbrook couldn't shine with LeBron James as his teammate.
"I don’t think it was his age. I think he was just, and I say this respectfully, I just think he was showing too much respect. I don’t care who I’m playing with it, I’m giving you 28. Fans pay a lot of money for me to make $100 million, I’m giving you 28. It’s not, ‘every time I get the ball, look for the other stars,’ he can play, too, so when I got the ball, I’m gonna do my thing. I can’t do my thing, I’m looking for him. That’s how you got to play. You just can’t concede all the time — here, here, here. Nah, throw me the ball, let me go to work. I gotta average 28 and 15 for personal reason and for these fans.”, stated Shaq to Bill Difilippo (via Clutch Points).
Given this passivity that Shaquille O'Neal detects in Westbrook, and his excessive respect for LeBron James, he delved into the matter: “I don’t know the relationship between him and LeBron, but if you put that down on paper and I don’t know nothing about basketball, that’s a hell of a backcourt, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James. Why it didn’t work, I don’t know, but watching him play, he was super passive. I don’t need you to be passive, I need you to play your game. I’ll be calling plays, when you get the ball after they miss a shot, run, if you ain’t got nothin, pull it out, give it to LeBron, and call some plays. That’s how it was me, he was just thinking too much. He’s a guy that, when he plays freely, he’s a monster.”.
If it was passivity, apathy, or any other reason that Russell Westbrook failed to shine in his first NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers, the solution seems to be unnecessary, as Westbrook's paths point away from LeBron James and company, either to another team or to the bench within the same franchise.