Russell Westbrook remains under the radar of critics with most expecting the 2017 NBA Most Valuable Player to eventually leave the Los Angeles Lakers at some point.

As of this writing, nothing close to a Russell Westbrook trade has come to fruition. Most believe that this may hinge on how the 33-year-old performs for the early part of the 2022-23 season before a deal crops up.

Consistency in contributing to the Lakers' cause will be something pundits will keep track of. Most gave their take on Westbrook last NBA season, some pointing out how the nine-time NBA All-Star was practically ineffective.

However, that is not how Lakers team owner Jeanie Buss sees it. She believes that Westbrook was their best player last NBA season, playing each game and working hard on the basketball court.

The 60-year-old sports executive shared her views in an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic.

"All I can say is that, from my point of view, [Westbrook] was our best player last year. He played pretty much every single game, showed up, worked hard. You know, I would have loved to have seen what this team would have looked like if they stayed healthy. It's really tough to win when Anthony Davis isn't on the court. LeBron was hurt a lot of the season. But Russ showed up every game and played hard every night. And, you know, I just really appreciate him for who he is and what he brings to the team," Jeanie Buss stated.

It appears the basis of Buss was the fact that Westbrook played 78 games with the Lakers. While that is something, it is the level of performance and the contributions of Westbrook that were hardly felt.

From a triple-double threat, Westbrook struggled tremendously. Had he played in his old fiery form, the purple and gold could have at least made the NBA playoffs despite LeBron James and Anthony Davis missing games due to injuries.

Dwight Howard #39, LeBron James #6, Anthony Davis #3, and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers
Dwight Howard #39, LeBron James #6, Anthony Davis #3, and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images | Jared C. Tilton

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