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Podcast: Russell Westbrook isn’t the problem with the Lakers, but is he the solution?

As per usual, Russell Westbrook has been a lightning rod for all kinds of overheated analysis with the Lakers this year. Let’s actually try to break it down.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Russell Westbrook might be the most polarizing all-time great player in NBA history (not including guys who got into trouble off of the court). Adding him into the mix on a LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers team was always going to stir up debate, but it’s become pretty ridiculous even by those standards.

But here at Silver Screen & Roll, we care about the fans. We don’t want to see you tear each other to shreds in our mentions. We want to unite, not divide. So, this week in “The Lakers Lounge,” Harrison Faigen and I had the definitive Russell Westbrook conversation. After this, there won’t be a need to talk about him any further. We figured it all out.

For the sake of this conversation, Harrison and I went back to our feelings about the trade back when it was made. There really is no point in analyzing something if you can’t remember your expectations for the thing. Yes, expectations change all the time, but you have to take note of them as they do.

One we figured that out (with the help of maybe my worst and best analogy to date — shoutout hybrid vehicles), we then decided whether he has met, exceeded or fallen short of those expectations. This is kind of complicated, and honestly is where a lot of the lack of nuance shows up in analysis of his season so far.

Then, to wrap up our Westbrook discussion, we pointed out some of the at-time disingenuous talking points generated by his play so far this season, on both sides of the discussion.

Given the at-times darker nature of this episode, we wanted to wrap on a lighter note, so I told the story of how content accidentally being deemed potentially explicit might have almost derailed my career.

(Note: We recorded this episode before news of the impending Rajon Rondo trade dropped. For more on that, check out tonight’s Lakers Lowdown)

You can listen to all those discussions and more on the full episode below, and to make sure you never miss a show, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.