Russell Westbrook still isn’t done throwing Frank Vogel under the bus

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook isn’t quite done pointing out disagreements with Frank Vogel and the Lakers coaching staff.

When ESPN reported in early March that the Lakers organization was pressuring Frank Vogel to demote Russell Westbrook from the starting lineup, Vogel claimed Westbrook had enough time to turn his season around like he did with the Washington Wizards.

A month later, it turned out that Vogel was right. Although the Lakers lost a crucial game to the Denver Nuggets, Westbrook fared better than most of the season, averaging 27 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. Vogel’s praise followed Westbrook’s improvement.

“Russ was great. I’m proud of Russ,” Vogel said. “He leads us, LeBron goes out, AD goes out, he’s always there. He’s very involved with game plans and information about what needs to happen on coverage and offensive action. He’s doing everything he can for this franchise and for our group to try and get over the hump. I’m proud of Russ.”

But for Westbrook it could be too little, too late. After the Nuggets game, Westbrook acknowledged the Lakers’ feelings toward him, saying that “they did things that they thought were best for our team.”

“And I’ll leave it at that,” Westbrook added.

Russell Westbrook seems unhappy with the coach’s attitude towards his game

Westbrook’s quote is a clear callback to what Vogel said earlier this season when he benched Westbrook for the final four minutes of a Lakers-Pacers game.

Though Westbrook improved towards the end of the season, the Lakers still went on a six-game losing streak to finish 11th in the Western Conference, 31-47.

This isn’t the kind of season Los Angeles traded for when they were traded for Westbrook, a decision that had disastrous consequences throughout the 2021-22 season.

With Westbrook not performing as expected, LeBron James and Anthony Davis being out through extended periods of injury, and the Lakers unable to improve their roster by the close of trade, the Lakers have been stuck for months. Even if Westbrook improves now, it could be too late to secure them a playoff spot — and perhaps for Westbrook, it could be too late for Vogel to stay in his favor. Russell Westbrook still isn’t done throwing Frank Vogel under the bus

John Verrall

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