Russell Westbrook Still Determined To Help Lakers Win Championship Despite Controversial Benching

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JB Baruelo

The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2021-22 NBA season as one of the top favorite teams to fully dominate the Western Conference and win the NBA championship title. Having the "Big Three" of Russell Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis, most people believed that the Lakers could beat any powerhouse team in the league in a best-of-seven series.

Unfortunately, the Lakers are currently struggling to consistently win games which is partly blamed to Westbrook's inconsistency and inability to make himself fit alongside James and Davis.

Russell Westbrook Controversial Benching

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Westbrook recently became one of the hottest topics in the league after he was benched in the final minutes of the Lakers' game against the Indiana Pacers. With three minutes and 52 seconds left on the clock, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel decided to replace Westbrook with Malik Monk in the lineup. When asked about his decision after the game, Vogel said that he was just "playing the guys that I thought were going to win the game."

According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Vogel has the "green light" from the Lakers' management to bench Westbrook.

Russell Westbrook Disappointed By Benching

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Vogel's decision to bench Westbrook in the final minutes of their game against the Pacers wasn't only about his poor performance on the offensive end, but also about his struggle to defend Caris LeVert, who finished the game with 30 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and one steal while shooting 75.0 percent from the field and 75.0 percent from beyond the arc. In a recent interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Westbrook admitted that he was "disappointed" and "surprised" that Vogel substituted him for Monk.

However, Westbrook said that he's "more disappointed" that they lost the game against the Pacers.

'The Brodie' Still Committed To Helping Lakers Achieve 'Ultimate Goal'

Despite his controversial benching, Westbrook told ESPN that he's still determined to help the Lakers reach the NBA Finals and capture the Larry O'Brien Trophy this season.

"Ultimately, you have to be OK when s--- doesn't go well, and I'm OK," Westbrook said. "I've done everything that's been asked of me here, and I'll continue to do so and ride this out as long as we can toward our ultimate goal -- and that's to win a championship. We obviously haven't been fully healthy, but I'm committed to making this thing work. The communication is there with everybody in the organization to make this thing work, to make this team we all want it to be in the future."

Will Russell Westbrook Finish The Season With LA Lakers?

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Since the start of the 2021-22 NBA season, rumors have been continuously swirling around Westbrook and his future with the Lakers. With his failure to live up to expectations as the team's third star, some people think that the Lakers are better off moving him before the 2022 NBA trade deadline. However, as of now, it's more likely that Westbrook will finish the season as a member of the Purple and Gold.

As noted in the previous report, Westbrook's current value on the market is "nonexistent" as no team is willing to commit to paying him $47 million next season.