With Russell Westbrook back with the Los Angeles Lakers for a second season, questions about his fit around LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be prevalent once again. After last season’s struggles, many will be curious to see how new coach Darvin Ham employs the future Hall of Famer.
One suggestion that some have made is the idea of bringing Westbrook off the bench. This would allow the Lakers to have someone who fits better next to Davis and LeBron in the starting lineup while allowing Russ to shine in the way he is most comfortable with the other reserves. The question, though, is whether Westbrook would be ok with that and whether Ham would actually be willing to make the move.
For now, at least, it seems like it isn’t out of the question, as during Lakers Media Day, Davin Ham would not commit to Westbrook being a starter this year.
“We’re a ways away [from deciding our starting lineup],” Ham said. We’ve got several options, obviously we signed Dennis, we signed Pat Bev, we got a healthy Kendrick Nunn along with Russ himself, Austin Reaves. We’ve got a variety of options to fill our backcourt. But again, as I mentioned, we’ve got to have a defensive mindset. Those are the guys that are gonna get the minutes, guy that are going out there to get stops. And [Westbrook] said he is in on that, he told me personally he’s gonna commit to that side of the ball and that’s what camp is for. We’ll see. We have more than enough options that we’re comfortable with.”
Ham is certainly right in the fact that the Lakers have a number of backcourt options. Patrick Beverley, Austin Reaves, Dennis Schroder, and even Kendrick Nunn could all garner serious consideration as potential starters, and Ham will have to figure out the best rotation for all of those options.
Of course, a major thing for players of Westbrook’s ilk is that there is an ego there, and you almost have to have it in order to accomplish what he has to this point. There have been other players who struggled to embrace a lesser role when the time came, and that often leads to their careers being cut short.
Training camp and preseason will serve to help figure out a lot of things for Ham and what the rotation will be. But everyone will be watching closely to see where Westbrook winds up.
Russell Westbrook off the Lakers bench being ‘strongly considered’ by Darvin Ham
This isn’t the first time that idea has been brought up, and Darvin Ham has undoubtedly run through many different possibilities with this roster. And reportedly, Westbrook off the bench is one that has garnered strong consideration.
Recent reports suggest that Westbrook, at the least, will have to outplay Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schroder during training camp, which will make for an extremely competitive camp.