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Magic Johnson says Lakers’ Russell Westbrook should ‘take accountability’ for his poor play to start out the season

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Los Angeles Lakers legend and Basketball Corridor of Famer Magic Johnson has known as on Russell Westbrook to “take accountability” for his poor play to start out the season. In a latest look on Shannon Sharpe’s podcast, Johnson shared his ideas on the Westbrook state of affairs, which reached one other low level on Sunday within the crew’s loss to the Portland Path Blazers. 

With the Lakers clinging to a one-point lead and 30 seconds remaining, Westbrook introduced the ball up the courtroom and fired an ill-advised jumper regardless of there nonetheless being 18 seconds on the shot clock. A couple of possessions later, Jerami Grant hit a game-winning layup to finish the Blazers’ comeback and condemn the Lakers to an 0-3 begin. 

Westbrook, who unusually tried to elucidate away his determination by saying he was going for a two-for-one, completed with 10 factors on 4-of-15 taking pictures, six rebounds and 6 assists within the recreation. For the season, he is averaging 10.3 factors, 6.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists on 28.9 % taking pictures from the sector and eight.3 % from 3-point land. 

His poor play, mixed with the Lakers’ winless begin and fixed commerce rumors, has turned the primary week of the season right into a circus that exhibits no indicators of quieting down. Johnson instructed that if Westbrook had been to come clean with his errors, he might start to restore his relationship with the followers and media. 

Johnson’s feedback:

“First, take accountability, that is No. 1. If I do not play nicely, say I do not play nicely. After I did not carry out nicely in ’84 towards the Celtics, I admitted that, I took accountability. I did not play nicely, I used to be the explanation the Lakers misplaced that collection and I needed to say to myself, ‘I gotta get higher.’ So what did I do? I went out that entire summer time and skilled onerous, obtained higher. Then we performed them once more in ’85, the subsequent season. Man I used to be on fireplace, we received, you did not hear [Tragic Johnson] once more.”

“Stop making an attempt to battle the media, give up making an attempt to battle the followers and simply say, ‘you understand what, I did not play nicely, however I am gonna play higher.’ And go on the market on the courtroom and carry out. That is the way you cease all of the issues that is occurring, however you possibly can’t attempt to do it by making an attempt to fight them and making an attempt to be mad on the followers or the media. As a result of the media has a job. When you’re not enjoying nicely, they’re gonna say it. I did not thoughts them taking pictures at me in ’84 as a result of I did not play nicely.”

“Russell, we all know championship basketball right here. We all know successful basketball. So hear, simply are available, do your job and in the event you do not play nicely, settle for that. However say it. After which come again and hopefully play higher the subsequent time. Then the followers will respect you for that. They revered me once I stated I did not play nicely. You are the purpose guard, the ball is in your arms, you are the ground basic. You gotta make higher selections, you gotta make them layups, you gotta hit them pictures. And then you definately gotta play onerous.”

Normally that is good recommendation, and if Westbrook had a extra genial character the state of affairs would nearly definitely not be so poisonous. The most important downside, although, is that Johnson is appropriate in that it in the end boils all the way down to producing at a excessive stage on the ground. Final season and the start of this one have made it clear Westbrook can not do this, particularly on this crew.

Johnson references the Lakers’ 1984 Finals loss to the Celtics and his drive to enhance in the summertime earlier than their redemptive 1985 Finals victory; he was 25 years previous then and simply coming into his prime. Westbrook is about to show 34 and is nicely previous his greatest years. Merely being higher is not simple at this stage of his profession. 

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