Want Russell Westbrook to thrive, Lakers fans? Act like this

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What happened, Lakers fans?

I have an idea. It’s kind of weird. You might not like it. But desperate times are all…

Try cheering him on when the Lakers host Denver in their next home game on Sunday.

I know. i know.

Russell Westbrook – What, you call him “Westbrick” in your house? well – does not deserve your support. dude”washed mason,” as the Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote in a scathing analysis over the weekend.

You think you can make at least 11 of 38 shots (28.9%) – and you’re not making more than $47 million to do it. Shoot, you’re pretty sure Grandma would make at least one of her 12 three-point attempts if she had the chance.

Westbrook may be one of L.A.’s successful sons, but you don’t owe him anything — especially when his response to his cold offense is so insulting: “Tough,” he called his shaky 0-11 game against the Clippers.

And it’s a sport – boo, if you want. You are entitled to your fandom feelings. You can mock, criticize, talk about your own.

He’s not helping his cause, no. But know that you are not helping your the reason, either.

Do you want this person to produce? Want him to cooperate? For the Lakers – or, hey, for his trade value? Maybe try something different, something difficult, unexpected.

I was thinking about something Phil Jackson once said about Lamar Odom’s training: “He’s not one you paddle and expect an accelerated effort,” the coach told the LA Times in 2006. – He’s the guy you hug and say, “You can do better.” And he does better with that approach than with the hard (hard) approach where you chase him….

“There was a time last year in the locker room, he had kind of a hanger-on feeling about him. I just gave him a big hug. I said, “You just looked like you needed a big hug right now.” Surprised the hell out of him.”

Westbrook’s feathers sure might look prickly, but what if he needs a hug?

What if, instead of gasping in unison as if you were all in the theater together and watching a scary movie every time it gets ready to be shot, you found yourself able to suspend reality, suppress your fear, tap into your reserves of empathy, and try cover his back while he buys his next few buckets?

No, Westbrook didn’t read the game that well on Sunday when the Lakers fell to 0-3 after he missed a mid-range jumper he made with 18 seconds left on the shot clock and a one-point lead late in the game. But of course he can read the number.

And it’s a big room in the Crypto.com Arena filled with a lot of energy – a lot of negative energy.

You’re trying to fill a void with the kind of tension that grips the office, trying to carry a full tray through a busy restaurant and every patron actively anticipating that you’re going to drop it. Try to drive the bus so that every passenger gasps for your every maneuver while waiting for an accident. Try replacing a high school math teacher – oh wait, they already know the replacements.

Westbrook’s line in the Lakers’ first game at Golden State was pretty decent: nineteen points on 7-for-12 shooting (including 1-for-3 from 3) and 11 rebounds and three assists? You will take it.

Compare that to his performances at home, where he went 4-of-26 from the field and 0-of-9 from 3-point range against the Clippers and Portland.

The differences weren’t as stark last season, but even then Westbrook was much better away from the unfriendly confines of his home arena, averaging 19.8 points on 47% shooting (32.4% from deep) on the road. In his hometown, he scored 17.2 points per game on 42% shooting (27% from 3).

The pressure is on in Los Angeles and the expectations are high – always, but especially when you consider the sacrifices the Lakers made to bring him on board.

Tips for him Magic Johnsonheard on Shannon Sharp’s “Club Shay Shay” podcast, it was clear: “First, take responsibility.”

Magic didn’t forget when Lakers fans called him “Tragic” Johnson after his lackluster performance in the 1984 NBA Finals. “When I didn’t play well in 1984 against the Celtics, I admitted it, I took responsibility — that’s what Russell has to do,” Johnson said. “Quit trying to fight the media, quit trying to fight the fans … and get on the court and perform.”

Of course, it would help.

But Magic was in his prime at this low point; Westbrook is 15 years old.

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