It’s oftentimes forgotten in the moment the human element of sports. With all the talk of fit and playstyle and trades, how everything impacts the player itself is often shoved to the backseat.
In the last year, that aspect of sports has moved more to the forefront for Lakers fans as the Russell Westbrook situation has devolved. The hometown kid came back to the purple and gold and has had a disastrous run of it.
Thursday, though, may have been one of the lowest points of the whole journey. In the home opener against the Clippers, Westbrook put up an 0-fer, finishing 0/11 from the field and 0/6 from the 3-point line.
Since joining the Lakers, it’s the only time he’s failed to make a field goal in a game. That it came on a night when the Lakers were so close to coming away with a big victory early in the year made it sting all the worse.
After the contest, Westbrook was naturally a focal point of discussion. While he himself fielded questions, though, teammate Juan Toscano-Anderson jumped to his defense.
Seeing the speed to which JTA leapt to Russ’ defense was a great thing to see and shows why he was such a popular player and teammate in Golden State. Offering himself as a shield to Russ and a lot of these questions is as selfless as it comes. And I’m no body language expert like Bill Simmons, but Russ clearly looks drained mentally from all of this, too.
In his own postgame presser, LeBron James was asked about his advice to Russ following this game. Unfortunately, it’s the same message he’s given each time he’s been asked about the matter.
It’s equal parts refreshing and exhausting to go through this repeatedly with Russ. JTA defending him is a welcome change to the formula. But it doesn’t benefit anyone to keep going through this song and dance and is just further reason to pull the plug on this whole thing already.