The NBA may have managed to stop the Sacramento Kings’ arena staff from playing the 'Cold As Ice' bit used following Russell Westbrook's missed shot. However, it seems as if fans have now found another way to remind Russ of his underwhelming performance so far this season.
Fans are sending diss tracks to Russ on Instagram
Certain individuals have tried to get under Russ’ skin, even before the Lakers' 133-96 blowout loss to the Nuggets -- Westbrook finished the game with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists on 7-for-15 from the field. They sent voice recordings of diss tracks to express their displeasure with his play 43 games into the season.
">January 15, 2022
It has been a tough season for Russ so far, with difficulties that the whole basketball world expected from the Westbrook-LeBron pairing coming true. The pressure is now at an all-time high for Russ and the Lakers to figure things out. Russ was expected to try and find a way to fit into a team where there would be less room for him to make mistakes and run a team with championship aspirations, but so far, he looks like he has not even come close to reaching that moment of clarity.
Anthony Davis has been out, and LeBron James has made the necessary adjustments to his game to accommodate Russ’ playing style, focusing more on scoring and relinquishing much of his playmaking duties to the triple-double machine that is Westbrook. However, Russ has not figured out how to play the championship-level basketball that the Lakers need from him, and it’s starting to shut the door on the team's title aspirations.
Nobody said it would be easy to make this work, but if the Lakers’ star can make the sacrifices needed to try and help Russ adjust, then that sacrifice and willingness to adjust should go both ways. After all, Russ is the one that wanted to come to Los Angeles, knowing that this team had championship aspirations. Now it’s time to put his money where his mouth is and do what the team needs to succeed.
What's next for Westbrook and the Lakers?
The Lakers have tried putting Russ on the ball, at the dunker spot, and as a secondary slasher off-the-catch, but none of these roles have worked out for him. Now, it’s time for Russ to make the ultimate sacrifice and accept the role of the sixth man in order to try and help the Lakers improve.
Los Angeles needs to bring some defense into their starting unit, possibly with Avery Bradley bringing the ball up the floor and LeBron James acting like a Nikola Jokic-type point center wthith AD at the four spots. Russ then leads the bench mob alongside Talen Horton-Tucker, allowing him to play the up and down style he is accustomed to, provided they can use their quickness to get some stops on the defensive end.
Late-game situations will then become very tricky for the Lakers, as most sixth men are usually offensive spark plugs and can therefore help close games out. Russ doesn’t have the offensive consistency to be a shoo-in, and playing him down the stretch hasn't paid dividends for the Lakers thus far. It's best for the Purple and Gold to make that call based on how Russ is playing each game -- if he’s shooting well then perhaps he can be on the floor with LeBron and AD to end the game.
It was always going to be tough and we all fully appreciate how tricky this adjustment was going to be for Russ, but with two years 44M left on his contract, he needs to start to play with some accountability and step up his game. Otherwise, it's trouble for the Purple and Gold.