Lakers Rumors: Russell Westbrook Coming Off Bench In Preseason Finale Vs. Kings
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has used the preseason to test out different starting lineups, trying to find out what works around LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook.

Ham has used five different lineups in five different games and the expectation is he will use a sixth in Friday’s preseason finale against the Sacramento Kings.

The one thing he has yet to test out is Westbrook coming off the bench, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin of ESPN, they will give that a try on Friday:

The Los Angeles Lakers will bring Russell Westbrook off the bench for their final preseason game, a move that may be a precursor to a longer look at the nine-time All-Star guard quarterbacking the second team, sources told ESPN on Friday.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham and Westbrook discussed the possibility of him serving as a sixth man throughout the offseason, and sources said the two discussed it again Thursday ahead of Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings.

The Lakers want to give Westbrook a chance to play both faster and freer with the ball in his hands leading the second unit, something that perhaps mirrors the autonomy that Rajon Rondo had during the 2019-20 season.

The prospect of Westbrook coming off the bench became a possibility this past offseason when Ham said that nothing was off the table.

Westbrook struggled in the Lakers’ last preseason game with just five points on 1-of-3 shooting to go along with four assists and three rebounds in 25 minutes. Giving him a look off the bench with the second unit will allow Westbrook to play with the ball in his hands more, where he has typically thrived but can’t do as often when playing with James and Davis.

With Westbrook headed to the bench, Austin Reaves, Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker IV and Kendrick Nunn are all candidates to enter the starting lineup against the Kings.

Ham outlines how Westbrook can be successful

It’s clear that Ham is trying different lineups in order to help Westbrook be successful, but as far as his actual play, the Lakers head coach outlined how that can happen.

“In terms of Russ, there’s running lanes, there’s guy that are willing passers that are gonna find him, we just got to commit to our running habits and our spacing. He can find himself in the corner, he can find himself in the dunker, he can find himself pushing and leading the break. And I think you saw all of that when we played Phoenix in Vegas.”

Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!

You May Also Like

LeBron James Says Lakers Need To Play With ‘Sense Of Urgency’ To Get Past Early-Season Struggles

The Los Angeles Lakers lost in a terrible style to the Boston Celtics on Friday, falling 130-108 after a nightmare performance…

Lakers News: Frank Vogel Gained ‘Great Deal Of Confidence’ After Watching LeBron James And Anthony Davis In First Mandatory Workout

After almost four months off due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Los Angeles Lakers are beginning…

Boxing Star Gervonta Davis Pays Tribute To Kobe Bryant & Lakers During Victory At Staples Center

Staples Center might soon change its name, but it will forever be known as “the house that Kobe built” as…

2021 NBA All-Star Video: Lakers’ LeBron James Jokes About Drafting ‘Enemy’ Paul George

As has been the case every year since the NBA switched over to this new format for the All-Star Game, Los Angeles Lakers…