Russell Westbrook seems unfazed by the media narrative, as he has focused on polishing his game for the upcoming season. He will be entering his 15th season in the NBA, after a season he would rather forget.
Although multiple question marks surround his role and possible impact next season, many people believe he will bring out his best.
"I don't believe Russell Westbrook will ever be this bad again," Stephen A. Smith said on First Take. "I believe that he's much better than he showed last year, and he is going to show us that."
What should Westbrook's focus be?
Russell Westbrook has had an exceptional career in the league, recording respectable averages of – 22.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 8.4 assists. He's been one of the most explosive guards in the league and has kept the bar high on an individual level. But, despite having some of the most talented teammates – like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, James Harden, and Paul George, to name a few – he's yet to win a title.
Westbrook's first season with the LA Lakers brought to light some discrepancies in his game that led to a turbulent season. However, Westbrook can focus on winning with a fresh slate and a renewed understanding of his offerings.
"You are one of the greatest talents we have ever seen; we all know this. [But] at some point in time, there has to be some level of modification.
"You've never had a chip despite your exceptional talent," Stephen A. highlighted.
Can the Lakers bounce back?
The Lakers have added defensive strength over the summer, but the offense is still likely to be driven by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Darvin Ham's addition is another factor that displays promise, given his work with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Although reports from training camp have suggested that the Lakers look solid, fans will want to see them in action before getting their hopes up. However, with everything said and done, making the playoffs is the least expected out of this bunch.
"I do think the Lakers' season will be better this year than it was last, and they will make the playoffs," Stephen A. concluded.