Russell Westbrook saw a lot of lazy fingers pointing his way during his first season with the Lakers. The team, hampered by injuries (especially to Anthony Davis), never found its rhythm and missed the playoffs, despite being only a year removed from winning the title. And despite having LeBron James on the floor.
But you don’t fire James, Davis or Westbrook, so the Lakers brought in a new coach, the widely respected realist Darvin Ham. Ham knows what he’s got on the roster and he likes it, especially Westbrook. Below Ham gives Russ high praise so the sometimes mercurial guard can hear it.
Not only does Ham call Westbrook one of the “best players our league has ever seen,” but more importantly he asserts that there is plenty left in Westbrook’s tank. Music to Westbrook’s ears, no doubt.
Westbrook looks on, ready as usual. And he has to love Ham’s emphasis on the defensive side of the ball. Westbrook can excel as a team defender, especially if, as Ham says, there is a “shared load” on the Lakers commitment.