Monday, June 5Welcome

NBA Stock Watch: Any Signs of Redemption for Russell Westbrook?

Russell Westbrook may finally change the story. It’s still early, but that’s one point from the Lakers’ first win.

Across town, the Clippers are showing how much they need Kawhi Leonard.

Enter NBA Stock Watch, our weekly column to see whose stocks are rising and whose stocks are falling.

rise: Russell Westbrookaim for redemption of

Something was different at Westbrook on Sunday.

After making a layup in the second quarter, he performed a shoulder shimmy. As Anthony Davis hit a free throw in the third quarter, he repeatedly raised his hand to the crowd to give the fans a cheering gesture. They stood up and shouted to answer.

Westbrook, who has been completely robbed of his joy since joining the Lakers, looked visibly happy during his team’s first win of the season, a 121-110 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

The ironic part? he got off the bench.

Westbrook has said he will do anything to help the team, but has made it clear that he feels different now. Coach Durbin Hamm met with him briefly, saying that it “absolutely” could have caused the hamstring strain he was suffering from.

But Westbrook appears to have had a change of heart since coming off the bench in the last two games. He finally seems to admit that the best way to play his game is with his second unit. He seems willing to put his ego on his side.

Westbrook had 18 points, eight rebounds Friday against the Minnesota Timberwolves and 18 points, eight rebounds and eight assists against the Nuggets.

he was aggressive. he is engaged And it was impressive to see the crowd at Arena voicing their support. This crowd has occasionally booed him and hurled insults such as “West Brick” over the past two seasons. Last season, Westbrook admitted he didn’t even want to bring his kids to the game because he didn’t want them to hear his father’s derogatory nickname. A video clip of a fan yelling “You suck–” to Westbrook as he walked through a tunnel went viral.

For Hamm, it was a huge sigh of relief to see Westbrook finally relieved.

“I’m so happy,” Hamm said on Sunday. “I can’t even imagine what he’s going through. It was a respectful thing to do, because a lot of what happened last year wasn’t his fault, and everything.”

“So I said to him, ‘Man, just listen to me. Trust me, bro. I’m going to put you in a position to succeed with the group. You have to think first… you can’t do it. It has to be us, ours, ours. And he did it.”

Westbrook got off to a shaky start to the season. In one loss, he shot 0-for-11 from the field. In another, he beat the Lakers by one point with 27.3 seconds left (he had 18 on the shot clock), made an incredibly unwise jumper, and LeBron visibly frustrated James, leaving the Lakers behind. ‘s play-by-play broadcaster Bill His McDonald’s exclaimed: “No, Russ, no.”

But with Westbrook off the bench, the Lakers look a little sharper. They’re injecting energy in the form of a nine-time All-Star that finally lets them play their own way, freed from the constraints of sharing the court with both James and Davis.

With the Lakers still in the basement of the league with a 1-5 record, it’s fair to wonder: Have the Lakers’ Westbrook problems finally begun to be resolved?

Falling: No Clippers Kawai Leonard

Leonard has missed three straight games after suffering from a stiff surgically repaired right knee, while the Clippers are on a four-game losing streak.

But the thing is, while the Clippers were without Leonard all last season (and Paul George was missing most of it), it turned out to be a very solid team they would have made the playoffs. I didn’t stop… the game.

Last week, they lost twice to Oklahoma City’s Phoenix and then to New Orleans by 21 points. They have his second worst offensive rating (100.6) in the league, behind the Lakers (100.3). And they’re averaging a league-worst 17 turnovers.

Even without Leonard, the Clippers are a deep team with a variety of snipers, gritty defenders, and All-Star players like George and John Wall. But they now appear to be resting on their laurels and postponing rather than playing with the sense of urgency seen last season.

“Now we just show up and think we can win because of the talent we have and everything we have on this team,” Marcus Morris Sr. said at a press conference on Sunday. it’s not.”

Fall: Kyrie Irving

The Brooklyn Nets’ fearsome play was overshadowed by comments on Kyrie Irving’s offensive social media posts.

To break it all down, Irving spoke for the first time on Saturday about tweeting a link to the Amazon page for the anti-Semitic film From Hebrews to Blacks: Black America Awakens. And he chose to defend himself.

“Did I do anything illegal?” Irving asked the reporter? “Have I hurt anyone? Have I hurt anyone? Are you going out and saying you don’t like a certain group of people?”

Irving doubled down on his decision despite statements from Nets owner Joe Tsai and the NBA condemning hate speech.

“I’m not going to deny what I believe,” Irving told reporters.

Irving deleted the tweet over the weekend, writing, “The ‘anti-Semitic’ label being forced on me is not justified.”

The Nets are struggling hard, even though Kevin Durant told reporters that Irving’s drama is “not at all” affecting the team’s play.

4 consecutive losses, 1 win and 5 losses. And they have his second-lowest ERA in the league (119.1).

Rise: Giannis Antetokounmpo hitting the ball, man

We have one undefeated team in the league. Milwaukee. There is one reason. I’m Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo should be no surprise when it opens this season. He’s second in the league in both scoring (33.8 points per game) and rebounding (12.8 points per game), and he’s kept his distance from the field at 32.3%. And he’s already had his two 40-point performances.

Needless to say, he has captivated fans off the court as well. He once interrupted his answer when he saw himself in a commercial at his press conference. “Oh, that’s me.

Then, after being told he had the most points total in four games of his career, he leaned forward, smiled, and interrupted the reporter by asking, “Really?” I’m hitting ‘,’ he added. , Man! “

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Melissa Rohlin is an NBA writer for FOX Sports. She has previously covered the league for Sports Illustrated, Los Angeles Times, Bay Area News Group and San Antonio Express-News. Follow her on her Twitter @.melissa rollin.

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