According to Jeanie Buss, Russell Westbrook was the “Best Lakers player of the last year”

Russell Westbrook fought mightily with the Lakers and was featured heavily in trade rumours. But at least one person was happy with his game.

It’s hard to characterize Russell Westbrook’s first season with the lakers anything but a disappointment. From his performance on the floor, results in the table to the sometimes public frustration between him and the coaching staff, nothing went as it should.

But Jeanie Buss seemed pretty happy with how he played. In a recent interview with Sam Amick from the athlete She said:

“I can only say that from my point of view (Westbrook) was our best player last year. He played pretty much every single game, showed up, worked hard. You know, I would have loved to see what this team would have looked like if they had stayed healthy. It’s really hard to win when Anthony Davis isn’t on the pitch. LeBron was injured many times during the season. But Russ showed up in every game and played hard every night. And you know, I just really appreciate him for who he is and what he brings to the team.”

Was Russell Westbrook really the Los Angeles Lakers’ best player last season?

no Not by a realistic measure of performance or production. Almost every all-in-one metric rated him as net negative; He had the highest turnover percentage on the team, posted a miserable 51.2 true shooting percentage to match his astronomical 27.3 usage rate, and outscored the Lakers at an average of 4.0 points per 100 possessions while on the floor was.


He played a team-high 2678 minutes while appearing in a team-high 78 games. When Buss tries to motivate LeBron James and Anthony Davis to stay on the court and play with a wall-walking intensity with every possession, one way to subtly shadow them is certainly by praising Westbrook.

The other finding here is an attempt to smooth things over with Westbrook himself, who has openly complained about being underrated and overlooked last season and has been featured frequently in trade rumors this offseason.

So, no, Russell Westbrook wasn’t the best player in the Lakers last season. Not for a long time. But it’s totally understandable why Buss claims that. In honor of the interview and the interviewee, a little context was added at the bottom of The Athletic’s article:

Realizing after the interview ended that I had failed to follow up quickly enough to get complete clarity on this stunning take, I decided to message Buss and ask if that was her actual belief.

“The word I should have used was ‘consistent,'” Jeanie Buss wrote via text message. “He played 78 games last season.” According to Jeanie Buss, Russell Westbrook was the “Best Lakers player of the last year”

John Verrall

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