“Once Kevin Durant left, nobody cared about the OKC Thunder” – Shannon Sharpe critical of Russell Westbrook, believes he’s the same player minus the athleticism

Russell Westbrook‘s bad start with the LA Lakers looks set to extend into the final half of the season. His terrible run has been met with backlash that has grown worse in the past couple of games.

The Lakers point guard has averaged 7.6 points in the past three games in 31.3 minutes played per game against the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings. This stretch happens to be his worst yet as a Laker.

Shannon Sharpe on “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed” seems disinterested by the talk of Westbrook’s poor form tarnishing his image. Sharpe strongly believes the 6-foot-3, two-time scoring champion is the same player he has been all his career.

.@ShannonSharpe on whether Westbrook is tarnishing his legacy:”This is just a continuation of the way Russell has played over 13 years. What’s working against him now is that he’s not athletic. This is who he is, there’s just more attention now because he plays for the Lakers.”

Sharpe said Westbrook’s numbers have always been the same, and as such Sharpe is not surprised by his output. Sharpe said the only difference now is that Westbrook plays for a big-market team – the Lakers.

“Last year with the Washington Wizards, nobody cared,” Sharpe said. “He was with the Houston Rockets, nobody cared. With OKC, nobody cared. Once Kevin Durant left, nobody cared about the OKC Thunder.

“So he’s been able to play the exact same way he’s played currently, get triple-doubles and everybody was seduced by that. And now he’s on the big stage, and you’re trying to win a championship. And you go back and look at his numbers, and you’re like, hold on, these are the exact same numbers he’s had his whole career.”

Shannon Sharpe believes and nothing has changed from Russell Westbrook’s days with the Washington Wizards, Houston Rockets and OKC Thunder

Russell Westbrook of the LA Lakers scores on a layup between Tyrese Haliburton and De'Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings during a 122-114 Los Angeles Lakers' win on Jan. 4 in Los Angeles, California.
Russell Westbrook of the LA Lakers scores on a layup between Tyrese Haliburton and De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings during a 122-114 Los Angeles Lakers’ win on Jan. 4 in Los Angeles, California.

While others feel that Russell Westbrook has yet to settle in with this team, Shannon Sharpe is confident the player cannot offer more than what he is giving.

Russell Westbrook last 3 games:9 PTS, 4-14 FG6 PTS, 2-12 FG 8 PTS, 2-14 FGHe has shot 20% in that span.

Sharpe firmly said the outcome Mr. Triple Double has achieved for the Lakers is who he is. Sharpe referenced Westbrook’s previous seasons with other franchises, illustrating that his numbers are relatively close to or the same as what they have been over the last 13 years. However, Sharpe pointed out that the only changing factor is that Westbrook is no longer as athletic as he used to be.

“This is who Russell Westbrook is,” Sharpe said. “Now, the only thing that’s working against him is that he’s not as athletic. Russ has really never played defense.”

Sharpe highlighted the fact that the 33-year old is under a bigger spotlight with the Lakers and as such his typical shortcomings in the game are drawing more focus.

“This is not going to tarnish his image,” Sharpe said. “This is who Russ is. A guy that plays out of control, that is inefficient, that turns the ball over on a high rate, that doesn’t shoot the 3 well, that doesn’t shoot the free throw well and doesn’t play defense. So what has changed this year as opposed to what he’s been doing in the previous 13 years? It just so happens that he’s got a bigger spotlight on him. He’s with the Lakers.”

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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