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Jeff Van Gundy: Westbrook should take a page out of three legends to salvage his stint in LA

Russell Westbrook & Jeff Van Gundy

Westbrook should take a page out of three legends to salvage his stint in LA

When the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook via blockbuster trade, not all fans were too happy about it. The immediate questions revolved around his fit with LeBron James, as Westbrook does not have a reliable jump shot. And the only way for a James-led team to succeed is to surround him with shooters.

As the season enters its midway mark, we can say that fans and critics were right with their initial assessment. Yes, Westbrook is doing other great things. But his lack of a jump shot is hurting the Lakers more than ever. Ex-NBA coach and commentator Jeff Van Gundy sat down with Zach Lowe to discuss the matter. From their conversation, they came up with sound advice Westbrook should heed.

Lowe pointed out Vince Carter and how he extended his career way past his prime. That's because Carter was a great jump shooter. This asset of his game opened up a series of other opportunities. Unfortunately, this does not and will never apply to Westbrook. Lowe wished Westbrook could figure out a way to succeed without the ball in his hands. Van Gundy built on this observation by Lowe. The commentator named two other legends whom Westbrook should take a page out of to salvage his stint in LA.

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"I think you made a really good point about Vince Carter. I would even go to Nowitzki and Tim Duncan. It's all about attitude. Like, you have to gracefully allow others to grow in a role that someone allowed you to grow in. So Duncan always referred to David Robinson. Nowitzki... I don't remember necessarily who was the guy before Nowitzki because he was there for so long. But he grew and he allowed others to grow. I just think it's absolutely critical. If you're going to age gracefully or it's going to end ugly. It's one of those two," Van Gundy, The Lowe Post.

Van Gundy pointed out that constant communication is critical for Westbrook to transition smoothly to a different role. The wrong thing to do would be to blindside him. Van Gundy might be referring to Carmelo Anthony's short and controversial stint with the Houston Rockets not too long ago. Anthony had been adamant coming off the bench. It wasn't communicated to him properly that that would be his role for the team. This misunderstanding eventually led to a fallout and caused Anthony to sit out for a year.

It would be interesting to see how the Lakers coaching staff and front office deal with this Westbrook dilemma. Are they having the conversations that Van Gundy is referring to? Have they thought about trading Westbrook as Kendrick Perkins suggested via Sideline Sources? Or are they trusting Westbrook and LeBron would work things out soon? Whatever the case may be, the Lakers cannot afford to ignore the elephant in the room. 

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