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Lakers: Russell Westbrook Cares A Lot and Still Wants To Win

The mercurial point guard may be a bit touchy, but he clearly still wants to win.

Laker fans are an impatient bunch. It's okay to admit. The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the greatest sports franchises in history, and winning is something almost accepted as fate.

That said, every Laker fan knows this season's roster has been a mess. The injuries have been a mess. The performances have been an inconsistent mess. The acquisition of Russell Westbrook was always going to be controversial, and unfortunately, Westbrook himself has not helped enough to dispel those concerns. His shooting numbers have been bad, even for him. His role on the court has often been confusing. His mercurial way with the media has exacerbated the issue.

Even beyond all those things--Russell Westbrook's effort and desire to win are there. In a piece from Adrian Wojnarowski at ESPN, Westbrook's response to being benched was passionate and the team-player answer.

"Surprised, yes. I was disappointed I didn't go back in, but I'm more disappointed that we lost the damn game. I want to be able to be on the floor to help my teammates and be able to help our team win in games like that -- but that was a decision that was made."

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If I'm Westbrook's teammate, that answer is solid. A man of Westbrook's career could carry an ego and demand to be on the floor. This contrasts the commonly (wrong) opinion people have of Westbrook as a stat-chaser. He truly wants to win and play his best to help his team.

"I have accepted everything that has been asked of me and tried to do it to the best of my ability. I'm not the ultimate decision-maker of if it's working -- or if it's not working. I'm OK with sacrificing some of the things that I've been able to do in this game to win, because that's the most important part of this game. I've done everything they've asked me to do to this point."

His words are the words of a team player, who is just struggling in his role. It's fair to criticize Westbrook's performance but his attitude and desire are all there.