Coming into the season, it seemed absolutely impossible that Russell Westbrook could fit with the Los Angeles Lakers roster. After such a rough season last year, most believed the Lakers would move him before the season began, but head coach Darvin Ham continually preached his belief that he could make it work.
Ultimately, Ham did figure out a solution which was to have Westbrook come off the bench and to the surprise of basically everyone, Westbrook has become one of the most productive bench players in the entire NBA. But despite an improvement over last season, Westbrook still has his faults and the Lakers are apparently concerned about them.
According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, the Lakers do still have some concerns about Westbrook’s ability to produce in the playoffs:
The Lakers are fighting to climb into the top 10 in the Western Conference. While coach Darvin Ham has found a viable role for Westbrook off the bench, the franchise does have concerns about his playoff viability, per multiple sources.
The biggest concerns for Westbrook continue to be his lack of outside shooting and penchant for turnovers. Westbrook is shooting just 28.9 percent from 3-point range which has often led to Lakers’ opponents placing a big man on him defensively and simply camping him out in the paint, clogging the lane for the rest of the team.
Additionally, despite his minutes dropping, Westbrook still ranks in the top five in turnovers per game, with some of them coming at crucial moments that really hamper the team. While Westbrook has been a big part of the Lakers turning things around after an awful start, it is understandable that the franchise would be concerned with how teams in the playoffs could make adjustments in an actual series.
Some of the Lakers would know this firsthand as they employed such a strategy during their run to the 2020 NBA Championship while Westbrook was a member of the Houston Rockets. In the end, the Lakers must figure out whether the positives of Westbrook outweigh the negatives and if they feel that is not the case, the front office could move on from him should they find the right trade.
Russell Westbrook grateful after moving into top-10 all-time assists
While the Lakers came up short against the Brooklyn Nets, there was some history made and for once it didn’t come from LeBron James. Instead, it was Westbrook who surpassed Hall of Famer Gary Payton to move into the top-10 all-time in assists.
Afterward, the Lakers point guard said he was ‘grateful’ and ‘thankful’ to be in the position he’s now in, adding that he never dreamed of being top-10 in assists but doesn’t take it for granted.
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