Russell Westbrook’s polarizing figure continues to grab headlines in the NBA, particularly after the LA Lakers’ loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day. The former MVP finished with yet another triple-double, tallying 13 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. He was also a team-worst -23 in 37 minutes in the game.
Karl-Anthony Towns, who recently entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, was interviewed not long ago by Adin Ross. The popular Twitch streamer and huge LeBron James fan pointedly asked Towns what he thought of Russell Westbrook’s stats.
Here’s what the Minnesota Timberwolves’ superstar big man had to say (via HoodieBev):
“He definitely gets stats, he chases stats. But, I think he’s a hell of a player, though. Man, I don’t care what anyone says, you know how hard it is to get a triple-double?... I just think that sometimes he plays too quick. He tries to do too much.”
Before being asked about the new LA Lakers superstar, KAT emphasized that winning is what matters to him. He stressed that he gets no satisfaction from stats, particularly if they don’t translate to wins.
“I ain’t playing for no stats. I’m trying to go win this game, boy! I’m trying to win this game. Stats don’t mean nothing.I was from a place where you get stats, and you lose? That’s just pointless. I don’t go home and get love for the stats.”
The game against the Brooklyn Nets was a glimpse of what Karl-Anthony Towns meant. Russell Westbrook logged his sixth triple-double of the season, but clearly played a big part in how the LA Lakers lost to the Nets.
Former NBA head coaches Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy repeatedly called out Russell Westbrook’s effort and decision-making especially early in the game. On several occasions, he was beaten down the court on defense that led to easy transition baskets by the Brooklyn Nets.
At one point, with LeBron James sitting down, the lead ballooned to 23 points, primarily due to the LA Lakers’ lack of hustle and energy. The mighty comeback bid that turned the lopsided score into a close encounter was mainly done with Russell Westbrook off the floor.
How can the LA Lakers fix Russell Westbrook’s fit into the lineup?
Short of making Russell Westbrook the backup ball handler, there seems to be no way for the LA Lakers to make the fit work. The ball has to be in LeBron James’ hands on offense to make the most of the four-time MVP's spectacular skills and clutch genes.
Rob Pelinka acquired the former Washington Wizards player in the hope of having someone carry the load in James’ 19th season. The opposite has happened this season, with the King being forced to play more minutes and play the center position to carry the Lakers, including Westbrook.
The entire Lakers organization is adamant that they can turn this thing around when healthy. It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out as the LA Lakers are set to face their toughest schedule in the next few months.