Lakers Rumors: L.A. Hopeful Russell Westbrook Can Shoot Higher Percentage On Corner 3-Pointers
(Photo by Mark Blinch/NBAE via Getty Images)

Many of the questions around the Los Angeles Lakers this offseason focus on Russell Westbrook.

The hometown kid had a deplorable debut season in L.A., prompting fans to call for his exit and even LeBron James openly lobbying for a trade for Kyrie Irving. Training camp has been viewed as a ‘soft deadline’ to trade Westbrook, though nothing seems to be coming to fruition.

Head coach Darvin Ham has made it clear working with Westbrook excited him about the Lakers job. In his first comments as head coach, Ham said he believes the guard can fit on the team if he’s willing to make the sacrifices.

There is little to no guarantee that Westbrook will indeed do so, though he reportedly has accepted the challenge. The Lakers hope a certain part of his game can be utilized next season, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

The team is also hopeful for a corner-3 shooting percentage bump from Russell Westbrook next season, sources said.

Keeping Westbrook in the corner of the court is the most ideal spot to space the floor. LeBron and Anthony Davis will command attention at all times when they have the ball, therefore, keeping Westbrook in the corner is a smart strategy.

Will Westbrook be subject to that role is another question entirely. However, on a percentage basis, it can work.

Westbrook shot 45.1% on corner threes last season on a mere 0.7 attempts per game. It’s a major increase compared to 26.2% on above-the-break threes on 2.7 attempts per game. Historically, he’s been more inconsistent from the corner.

During the 2020-21 season, Westbrook shot 43%, however, he shot 22% in the season prior and 36.6% before that. He shot 40.9% from the corner in his MVP season in 2017.

The Lakers may have initially been ambitious with their hope of Westbrook seeing his numbers bump. Increased shot attempts might have sunk last season’s percentage and the inconsistency at that spot through his career isn’t a good sign. But, it can be the one area that will make Westbrook fit.

Darvin Ham has more power to bench Westbrook

Much of last season’s dialogue surrounding the possibility of benching Russell Westbrook. Frank Vogel was able to do so a couple of times, but it seems that Ham will have more authority to bench the star if need be.

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