Shaquille O'Neal weighs in on Russell Westbrook's poor first year with Lakers
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Shaquille O'Neal said he felt Russell Westbrook was "too nice" and "showing too much respect" in his first year in Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers went all in to acquire Westbrook last summer, but his first season in Los Angeles ended in disaster.
Westbrook wasn't looking like his usual self throughout the entire season and the Lakers didn't even make the playoffs after finishing with a disappointing 33-49 record. Westbrook received the most crticism for the Lakers' play and the team has been trying to trade him since the start of the offseason.
"I don’t think it was his age. I think he was just, and I say this respectfully, I just think he was showing too much respect. I don’t care who I’m playing with it, I’m giving you 28. Fans pay a lot of money for me to make $100 million, I’m giving you 28.
It’s not, 'every time I get the ball, look for the other stars,' he can play, too, so when I got the ball, I’m gonna do my thing. I can’t do my thing, I’m looking for him. That’s how you got to play.
You just can’t concede all the time — here, here, here. Nah, throw me the ball, let me go to work. I gotta average 28 and 15 for personal reason and for these fans," O'Neal told UPROXX.
O'Neal: Westbrook can't be passive
Throughout his entire career, Westbrook needed the ball in his hands in order to dominate.
Now that he was playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, O'Neal felt that Westbrook wasn't as aggressive as he would usually be. "He was just being too nice. I don’t know the relationship between him and LeBron, but if you put that down on paper and I don’t know nothing about basketball, that’s a hell of a backcourt, Russell Westbrook and LeBron James.
Why it didn’t work, I don’t know, but watching him play, he was super passive. I don’t need you to be passive, I need you to play your game. I’ll be calling plays, when you get the ball after they miss a shot, run, if you ain’t got nothin, pull it out, give it to LeBron, and call some plays.
That’s how it was me, he was just thinking too much. He’s a guy that, when he plays freely, he’s a monster," O'Neal added. The Lakers haven't been able to find a trade partner for Westbrook and now there is a real chance he stays with the team until at least next summer.