NBA icon Kevin Garnett is the latest to share his thoughts on the Russell Westbrook-Los Angeles Lakers drama. Garnett echoed Charles Barkley's observation that Westbrook isn't as energetic as he once was, and the Boston Celtics legend shared some advice on how Westbrook can get over the hump.
According to Barkley, the Lakers "are taking his entire joy out of basketball and it pisses me off." Barkley is referring to the noise surrounding Westbrook, especially the rabid trade requests from diehard fans of the Purple and Gold. Garnett has similar observations of Westbrook, saying he misses the old Brodie and his energetic pre-game ritual.
"Westbrook looks like he's checked all the way out, right? I think Charles Barkley said it best. I love Westbrook when he runs out and yells," Garnett said.
While Barkley believes it's time for Westbrook and the Lakers to divorce, Garnett's tip is slightly more conservative. His advice is addressed to Westbrook, not the organization and its passionate fans.
"That's love. That's passion. That's basketball. And he doesn't like he's in that space. Man. I'mma pray for Russ man. Hold your head. Whatever you gotta do. Find your love. Find your passions. Reset yourself and remember why you do this," Garnett said.
If we are to parse Garnett's advice, is he telling Westbrook to stay with the Lakers, reflect for a minute, and tweak his game to sync with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Darvin Ham's system? Or is KG discreetly telling Westbrook that he should be the one to force his way out of LA? Is this the inner peace KG is referring to?
Whatever the case and whichever side you're on, it's crystal clear that nothing has been going right for the Lakers since Westbrook arrived. Perhaps the fans were right all along. There was no way Westbrook — a player of similar make and style as LeBron — would ever fit in LA.
Sure, Westbrook's feisty playstyle has caused headaches for his former teams. But the man has proven he can lead teams to victories if he's in full control. Unfortunately, with someone like LeBron on your team, it's impossible that you'll have the keys to the entire franchise and the system the team is trying to run.
Westbrook deserves respect for staying positive amid all this drama. The man is the definition of a professional. But we have to remember that Westbrook is human, too. All this noise may soon take a toll on him.