How Russell Westbrook’s beef with other players could fuel Lakers title chances
FUELED BY CONFLICT

How Russell Westbrook’s beef with other players could fuel Lakers title chances

Russell Westbrook is a throwback type of player who uses rage on the court to fuel him. Brodie is in attack mode from the get-go, and when someone plays as hard as he does, beef with other players tends to happen more often than not. Here is a brief history of all the players he’s had altercations with, verbal or physical, including a rival turned teammate. 

Rajon Rondo ready to quash beef with Westbrook

One of the longest beefs RWB had was with Rondo, and now, they find themselves teammates in the L.A. Lakers. Both guards have a penchant for getting under people’s skins and won’t back down from challenges. You can see how the two battled in the past below.

But, at this point in their career, winning a championship means more than personal grudges. Rondo cleared the issue early in September to eliminate fans’ fears that locker room tensions might arise. Once guys put on the same jersey, they often develop a special kind of respect, recognizing they are more similar than different.

“Rondo is looking forward to playing with Russ, saying he’s “had a lot of great battles with a lot of these guys… I’m looking forward to putting everything in the past … for the greater good of the team.

Michael Corvo, via Twitter

Rajon also had altercations with James at the peak of the Boston Celtics-Miami Heat/Cleveland Cavaliers rivalry in the East. Still, as they showed in 2020, they can put the past behind them and work together to achieve a common goal. 

Rondo and Westbrook in practice will bring out the best in each other. However, if the Lakers aim to win it all, they need RWB to stay angry, aggressive, and play with no f*ucks given every night.

Westbrook’s beef with other NBA players

Russell’s competitiveness sometimes rubs people the wrong way. It’s just his nature to be aggressive and to go hard on every possession. One of the most famous beefs Westbrook’s had was with ex-teammate Kevin Durant. There were lots of things said after Durant left the OKC Thunder to join the Golden State Warriors. The two were able to reconcile their differences after getting selected to play in the 2017 All-Star game. 

Westbrook also has a longstanding beef with Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. Their teams have met several times in the Western Conference playoffs, with Lillard holding a 4-1 record in the postseason. When the two face each other, expect fireworks and some NSFW messages thrown at each other.

What’s clear is that RWB is ready to throw hands against mammoth centers like Joel Embiid. The altercation started with a hard foul on Embiid on a fastbreak play. Westbrok was giving up a lot of size and length but didn’t back down for a second.

Since then, it’s been nothing but heated between these two, especially in trading barbs on Twitter. 

If Brodie can constantly keep up with the same intensity and aggressiveness for the Lakers, expect the team to make a decent run in the Playoffs. Angry Westbrook is the best Westbrook, and the Lakers can use that to light a fire for the team. It will prove to be particularly useful in the regular season, when LeBron or AD may need to manage their load.

If there’s one guy who’d make it any era of the past, it’s Russell Westbrook. The Lakers are better for it.