“He’s a guy that, when he plays freely, he’s a monster.” – Shaquille O’ Neal implies Russell Westbrook was too humble to Lebron James, says he should develop into a role player
Being humble is not Russell Westbrook’s strength, according to Shaquille O’Neal. The former Los Angeles Lakers legend summed up why Westbrook’s humility towards his teammates was one reason why he had a poor 2021-22 season.
The Lakers are looking to get back to winning ways after a poor season last year. Westbrook had one of the worst seasons of his career during his first year in Los Angeles.
Before joining the Lakers, Westbrook averaged 22.2 points, 11.7 assists and 11.5 rebounds per game for the Washington Wizards. He also managed to lead the Wizards to the playoffs with teammate Bradley Beal.
However, his numbers dropped in Los Angeles. The nine-time All-Star finished the season with 18.5 points, 7.1 assists and 7.4 rebounds. Even though he averaged less turnovers, his performances were heavily criticized in the media.
In a recent interview with Dime Magazine, Shaq shared why he thought the former MVP’s humility was the reason things did not work out for him. He said:
“I think he was just, and I say this respectfully, I just think he was showing too much respect.
“He was just being too nice. 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… 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.“
Can the Lakers make the Russell Westbrook-Patrick Beverley backcourt work?
The Lakers surprised everyone when they signed Patrick Beverley a few weeks ago. Just like the Rudy Gobert trade, no one saw this coming.
It’s known league-wide that there’s been some bad blood between Westbrook and Beverley. It stemmed early in their careers when Pat Bev went a little too aggressive in hounding the star point guard. As a result, Westbrook suffered a serious injury to his right knee. Since then, the two have expressed their dislike towards each other.
One notable thing during Pat Bev’s introductory press conference was his interaction with Russell Westbrook. During his interview, the defensive specialist voiced his excitement towards being on the same team as the former MVP.
A new era of Lakers basketball is upon us. Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley playing together will make the 2022-23 season even more exciting.