On paper, the addition of Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers should have been the perfect move. After a season rehabbing his reputation with the Washington Wizards, the Brodie joined LeBron James and Anthony Davis to chase the franchise’s 18th championship ring. The thing is, the front office chose to go for star power rather than improve the team’s spacing and shot creation from downtown. And now, those who have invested in Russell Westbrook rookie cards are paying the price.
We take a deep dive into how Westbrook’s stint with the lakers has affected his card value and whether collectors should still go for his stock or not.
Westbrook’s disastrous season with the Lakers
Without a doubt, Westbrook’s stint with the Wizards proved to be a successful one as the Brodie helped his former squad reach the postseason. This proved to be the catalyst for the Lakers to acquire the All-Star point guard by trading Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Montrezl Harrell, and the draft rights to Isaiah Jackson.
Once the smoke cleared, the Lakers ended up with a roster led by James, Anthony, and Westbrook. And although the average age of the roster was around 30, making them more prone to wear and tear, the influx of talent and experience will more than compensate for the risks. Heck, even James himself noticed what people were saying about his squad right before the season began and tweeted about it, then deleted it shortly after.
“Keep talking about my squad, our personnel ages, the way they play, we’re past our time in this league, etc etc etc!!” wrote the sports icon. “Do me one favor PLEASE!!!! And I mean PLEASE!!!! Keep that same narrative ENERGY when it’s begins! That’s all I ask. #ThankYou,” James said in a deleted tweet last year.
And at several points during the season, the Lakers looked like true contenders with James scoring more points than he ever did during the past few years. Unfortunately, Davis was constantly out of the lineup due to injuries and Westbrook’s fit with his two All-Star teammates didn’t exactly work out.
Lakers fans in October: "It will be exciting to see LeBron James get Westbrook a ring"
Lakers fans in March: " We really need a big game from Wenyen Gabriel to lock down this 10 seed."
— Jonas Nader (@JonasNader) March 31, 2022
This left James carrying the Lakers’ aging or inexperienced core to its current 31-44 record in the NBA, 10th in the Western Conference. With an offensive rating of 110 (23rd in the league, and a 112.9 defensive rating (21st), it’s no wonder the Purple and Gold have really fallen from contention.
Of course, most of the blame being passed around can be traced back to Westbrook. With a reputation of being the primary ball-handler all throughout his career, the All-Star point guard is finding it hard to exert his style with James and Davis around. This has reduced his numbers to 18.2 points, the lowest since his second year in the league, on 44% shooting from the field, 29% from beyond the arc, and 67% from the free throw line while making 7.5 rebounds and 7.1 assists.
Even after notching 27 double-doubles and 10 triple-doubles this season, his 14.9 player efficiency is the lowest of his 14-year career. This shows that the Brodie is having a hard time in Los Angeles and it’s showing on the court. This has generated a lot of rumors about Westbrook’s future in Los Angeles and whether the front office can find a taker for Westbrook during the offseason.
The Lakers are now the 11 seed. 5 of their last 7 games are against top 6 teams in the West. pic.twitter.com/3ocKoKu1ZJ
— StatMuse (@statmuse) March 30, 2022
As it stands, the Lakers are in 10th place with the San Antonio Spurs lurking close behind. With James taking a couple of games off and Davis set to return soon, the Purple and Gold’s chance of making the playoffs is getting smaller by the moment. If they completely miss the postseason, collectors can expect those Russell Westbrook rookie cards to dwindle further in the market.
The state of Russell Westbrook rookie cards
The Brodie’s stock in the market has been through a lot of ups and downs over the last few years. But after playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, and the Lakers, it seems that these Russell Westbrook rookie cards are in danger of falling further.
In a three-month Card Ladder graph, Westbrook’s PSA 10 2008 Topps Chrome has gone down from $1,500 to $501. That’s a massive 66% drop from where it started late last year. Of course, things can get worse if Westbrook’s next stint is as bad as his stay in Los Angeles. In any case, this isn’t looking good for those who invested in the All-Star’s rookie cards.
The verdict on Russell Westbrook rookie cards
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the Lakers won’t possibly make it out of the first round, that is if they even reach the playoffs at all. This places Westbrook’s rookie card value in peril since he’s the one getting most of the blame in the media. Although most of the hate isn’t justified, the narrative going around won’t be reversed anytime soon.
The move to make here is to liquidate those Russell Westbrook rookie cards as soon as possible. There’s a chance he gets traded to a rebuilding team to get rid of his expiring contract in the offseason. If that happens, the point guard can fix his value once again in a different team.
But of course, nothing is set in stone and nothing is known at this point in time. Rather than wait for the unknown, it’s best to sell those cards and invest in more promising names in the hobby right now. In doing so, the loss incurred from Westbrook’s stock can be compensated by better prospects in the market.