The Russell Westbrook experience in Hollywood hasn’t gone as smoothly as many Los Angeles Lakers fans hoped. Brodie was brought to L.A. to remove the load off LeBron James and make the Lakers look unbeatable, but this hasn’t really happened nearly halfway into this 2021-22 season. Granted, Westbrook often starts slow, so the Lakers can still hope he has more to offer. 

That said, Westbrook can offer more by coming up with a list of New Year’s Resolutions. A list specifically of what he can do differently from last year and how he can change his game to uplift the Lakers. Now more than ever, when the Lakers are just a couple of games behind the fifth seed, is when they need Westbrook not to screw things up.

Russell Westbrook’s 2022 New Year’s Resolutions

1. Turn the ball over less

Russell Westbrook’s infamous nine-turnover game vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves last Sunday only developed more concern for Lakers fans. He has long been a turnover machine and is currently second in the league in turnovers per game (4.6) next to James Harden.

The good news? Russ just had his first game without a single turnover in years against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

2. Improve finishing at the rim

There’s no question that Brodie’s speed and ability to get in the paint is still impressive, but it’s his inability to finish at a high level that’s head-scratching. At least every game, he has a moment where he misses a gimme at the rim. It’s unfortunate because he already struggles shooting the ball, so he really needs to work on his finishing in order to find a consistent way to score. 

Maybe he can learn from his teammate LeBron James, who is one of the best to ever drive and finish at the rim. Russ needs to work on his finishing because this is what the Lakers will need from him come playoff time.

3. Work on his jumpers

The Lakers don’t need Russell Westbrook to attempt more than five shots from the perimeter per game, but if the defense leaves him with no choice, then Russ has to find a way to make the opponent pay. Westbrook can knock down shots from the corner, where he’s shooting 47.6% this season, so it might be best for him to camp on those corners from time to time. The bottom line is this: Westbrook needs to be in rhythm, especially come playoff time, because his jump shot will definitely be a factor. 

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4. Stop complaining for a foul all the time

Almost the whole Lakers team is guilty of this, but Russ has to stop looking for a foul every time he drives in and attempts a shot. There will be times (and it feels like often) when the referees really don’t call those fouls while he goes to the rim, but that shouldn’t give him an excuse not to run back on defense. Not getting fouls is frustrating, yes, but it’s even more annoying if the opponent scores because Westbrook fails to run back. 

Maybe what Russ and the Lakers can do is send clips of Russ getting fouled to the league. This way, at least the referees can actually study them and send their feedback. 

5. Improve off-ball defense

The Lakers gave up their defensive identity when they traded for Russell Westbrook, as they’re no longer that defensive juggernaut that helped them win a title two seasons ago. Russ has been okay on the defensive end this season, but some of his mistakes have been loud. (Remember that Christmas game when he forgot to cover Patty Mills?)

Westbrook will have to work on his off-ball defense because this will be significant come playoff time, especially against teams who love to utilize ball movement like the Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and even the Los Angeles Clippers. 

6. Develop a little more self-awareness

Look, Russell Westbrook has been a different guy to the media ever since he got to the league, but saying stuff like “I’m allowed to turn the ball over” or “I’m allowed to miss shots” can come off as entitled or lacking self-awareness. Of course he is allowed to make mistakes on the court, but to use it as an excuse for turning the ball over seven times in one half is just unfair — especially if he has James (who also handles the playmaking) on his team.  

It would have been nicer to hear Westbrook talk about how he can improve or even justify the reasons for his mistakes. But Russ will be Russ, I guess?

The resolution for Russell Westbrook is to really lessen all his mistakes on the court and fit in the Lakers’ system by playing like the team’s third option. That’s what he was brought to the Lakers to be, after all.