Lakers’ Legend Shaquille O’Neal Labels Russell Westbrook as a Mere ‘Role Player’

Published 10/21/2021, 10:00 AM EDT
Sep 28, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) answers questions during media day at the UCLA Health and Training Center in El Segundo, Calif. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


When the Los Angeles Lakers took Russell Westbrook onboard this offseason, they expected to have another go at the NBA championship after their last one in 2020. At least that’s what everyone thought because a trio with Russ, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis sounds quite deadly. However, Westbrook’s debut game on opening night was nowhere near expectations. With this, former Lakers’ legend, Shaquille O’Neal also has a different stance when it comes to Russ’ role in the team. 

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Russ is merely a role player?

Oct 19, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) dribbles a ball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the first quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers were up against the Golden State Warriors in their season opener, which did end very well for them. Despite dominating for the most part of the game, the Warriors made a big comeback in the fourth quarter, sealing their 121-114 victory. 

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The purple and gold could have had that win easily. Stephen Curry struggling to shoot was supposed to be just the opportunity they needed to make it happen. However, nobody expected the Warriors bench to show up the way they did. Jordan Poole has been spectacular for them even in the preseason, and this game was no different. 

Unfortunately, Westbrook barely fulfilled the expectations set on him. But Shaquille O’Neal, like everyone else, now has an opinion on what Russ’ role is in the team. He said, They still need role players, right? I see Russ as a role player, a damned good one, but he’s a role player. It’s LeBron first, AD second and then Russ. He can get his stuff on the break.”

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Can the Lakers pull off a much-needed comeback?

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Oct 12, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Damion Lee (1) drives against Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the second quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook has a long road of adjusting to do if he wants to fit in with the Lakers roster. He is too used to playing a bigger role in any team he has played for. Unfortunately, he will have to learn to give that up here. 

This means more time, something the Lakers might not have. The major changes the franchise made this offseason could either be a boon or bane for them? What do you think it’s going to turn out to be?

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DIVE DEEPER

‘Not an Instant Oatmeal’: LeBron James Makes an Interesting Comment About Russell Westbrook’s Lowlights

about 1 month ago

 

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Yashima Bhatia

1740 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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