Russell Westbrook has quickly become the primary scapegoat for a sour Lakers season, and he caught the ire of Shannon Sharpe on Tuesday.
The Lakers (16-18) are in ninth place in the Western Conference. Westbrook is shooting 45.1 percent from the field and averaging 4.6 turnovers a game. He’s shooting just 30.4 percent from 3-point range, yet still takes 3.7 of them a game.
A Westbrook lowlight reel went viral on Monday, amassing over a million views.
Westbrook shrugged off any criticism of his poor play.
“Honestly, I think I’ve been fine,” he said earlier this week. “The conversation has been heavily on how I’m playing and what I’m doing, but I think people are expecting me to have f–king 25, 15 and 15, which, that is not normal. Everybody has to understand, like, that’s not a normal thing that people do consistently.”
No, he hasn’t been fine, said Shannon Sharpe on FS1’s “Undisputed” program.
“He doesn’t get it,” Sharpe said. “The Lakers are the ninth seed in the west. They were one of the favorites to win the conference. They’re the ninth seed and Russ says, ‘I’m fine.’ Everybody wants him to have 25-15-15 — nobody thinks that. Nobody wants that. They want you to stop turning the ball over, especially in crucial situations.
“They want you to stop playing so out of control on a normal basis. That’s a normal occurrence for you. You say 25-15-15 is not normal. What is normal is you turning the ball over at a high rate. You playing out of control more times than not. You taking terrible shots more times than not. That’s what the Laker nation wants you [not] to do.”
Sharpe reiterated that no one expected Westbrook, now a teammate with LeBron James and the currently injured Anthony Davis, to put up the gaudy, triple-double stats everyone has become accustomed to from him. However, Sharpe expected him to take better care of the basketball and not take such bad shots.
“You were brought in to ease LeBron’s load,” Sharpe said, as if Westbrook were in the room with him. “You added more to his plate!”
It’s unclear how much Sharpe watched of Westbrook before he got to the Lakers if he truly expected less turnovers and better shots, but that’s where we currently stand.