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It’s amazing how much can change in one year. Last summer, Russell Westbrook sat at his introductory press conference with a smile, thrilled to be returning home to play for a Lakers team he had rooted for as a child. But fast forward to present-day, nearly eight months later, and things are going much differently.
On one side, Westbrook is deleting social media posts off his Instagram, starting with the ones including the Lakers. On the other side, Lakers fans themselves have seen more than enough and are ready to move on.
Our latest SB Nations reacts survey asked fans if they wanted to run it back with Westbrook next season, and the results were predictably lopsided.
Perhaps if Westbrook went quietly into the night after the season and allowed things to cool off, the reaction might be different. But instead, he went with the very opposite approach of loudly proclaiming his innocence in the team’s failures at his exit interview before taking the scorned ex-lover approach of wiping his Instagram of evidence of the two.
Because of that, Lakers fans haven’t been too interested in forgetting and moving forward and instead are ready to move on. A failure of a season has given way to an offseason that hasn’t been any more fun yet, and it’s a whole experience the fanbase just no longer wants to be part of. It would seem that feeling is mutual, both from Westbrook, and the team iself.
Brandon Ingram’s coming out party
While the Lakers may not be in the playoffs, there are some obvious rooting interests. On top of likely rooting against whoever is playing against the Suns, rooting for the success of the former Baby Lakers is always fun.
Brandon Ingram represents a chance to do both, as he’s had one hell of a series to push the defending Western Conference champions to the limit in the first round. He didn’t need a coming out party after a Most Improved Player award and an All-Star appearance, but he’s established himself once more as a bonafide star NBA player on the postseason stage.
Behind him, the Pelicans have had some memorable performances in what fans voted as the most surprising first-round series so far.
Certainly, Devin Booker’s injury has played a role in this series being as close as it is, but I can’t imagine Laker fans are going to have much sympathy for the Suns for dealing with injuries. Or for anything, really.