Report: Westbrook Being "Defensive" About Criticism In Film Sessions


For weeks, Los Angeles Lakers' coach Frank Vogel and his staff had wanted to pull the chute on Russell Westbrook and his poor shot selection and decision-making late in games. Now, courtesy Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, we're learning a bit more about why it took that long.

According to the report, Westbrook gets "defensive" when he feels like he's being singled out during film sessions; this, and of course just knowing his general demeanor when things don't go his way, led Vogel and the Lakers to be very trepidacious and hesitant to go as far as benching him in late-game situations. 

But as Shelburne writes, "the time had come for drastic action. The experiment of teaming Westbrook with LeBron James and Anthony Davis has been a flop -- more awkward and clunky than even the skeptics predicted over the summer," and finally, coach Vogel—whose own job has been noted to be in jeopardy, pulled the plug.

"Frank ripped the Band-Aid off," one team source said. 

But now what? That's the question being asked. Because the Lakers sent all their tradeable assets to Washington in the deal to get Westbrook, they're pretty much stuck with this situation. 

"It's not like [Westbrook's] a tradable player where if it's not working out you just move on; everybody in the NBA knows that," one team source told Shelburne. "So it's got to work. This is the only option. There is no Plan B for this season."

Or, as another team insider put it, "there is no light at the end of the tunnel."

All that being said, it should be noted that Westbrook has played much better in the two games since the benching, even being one of the key players leading a huge comeback charge against the Miami Heat right down to the wire on Sunday, albeit in a losing effort. 

Photo Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports