One of rapper Kendrick Lamar’s most famous lyrics reads, “If Phil Jackson came back, still no coaching me / I’m uncoachable, I’m unsociable.” For his part, Russell Westbrook appears to have taken that lyric to heart for the Los Angeles Lakers this season.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported this week that Westbrook had a heated moment in the early part of the season with Lakers assistant coach David Fizdale. Charania says that Fizdale challenged the former MVP over his poor shot selection during a film session, which resulted in the two men having an animated exchange.
Westbrook’s first season as a Laker was an enormous failure to say the least. His ball-dominant helter-skelter style was a nightmarish fit next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and Westbrook’s overall play was so awful that some were even concerned that there was something wrong with his eyes.
The net result was Westbrook averaging his fewest assists per game since he was with the Houston Rockets and his fewest points per game since he was still teammates with Kevin Durant and James Harden in Oklahoma City. Oh yeah, and the Lakers also went 33-49 and missed a 20-team postseason.
Heated moments for players and coaches behind closed doors are probably pretty common, especially amid the turbulence of an 82-game season. But the Fizdale anecdote is indicative of a greater problem with Westbrook. The nine-time All-Star clearly never had respect for Frank Vogel and threw some shade at Vogel after Vogel’s firing to boot. It turns out that the Lakers’ other coaches did not have much better luck getting through to Westbrook either.