James erupted for 56 points, and for one of the few times this season, Russell Westbrook also played very well. But for the most part, the Lakers have been coming off the rails and Westbrook’s rocky fit is among the reasons why.
Lakers legend Magic Johnson, it appears, would agree.
“This [Westbrook] trade could down as the worst trade in Lakers history if we don’t get out of the play-in game,” Johnson said on ESPN’s NBA Countdown.
He also said Westbrook needs to accept responsibility for his own struggles.
“Quit battling the press, take ownership and accountability,” Johnson added. “I’m tired of excuses, it’s time to take ownership and say ‘I just been playing poorly.'”
Magic Johnson did not hold back on the state of the Lakers this season:
“[Russell Westbrook] quit battling the press, take ownership and accountability. … I’m tired of excuses, it’s time to take ownership and say ‘I just been playing poorly’.” pic.twitter.com/PHJHpZ7HN7
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 6, 2022
Johnson has taken a lot of flak on social media in the past, with fans occasionally accusing him of making obvious or vanilla statements. This was not one of those.
As a franchise legend and former executive, Johnson clearly cares deeply about what happens to the Lakers and really does want Westbrook to do well. So call his latest comments a dose of tough love, perhaps even a little bit of a motivational speech.
Right now, the Lakers can use any coaxing they can get. Because quite honestly, they can’t expect LeBron to score 56 every night.
Sam Amico is senior NBA writer at Hoops Wire. Follow @AmicoHoops.