Russell Westbrook ‘could come off the BENCH’ for the Lakers following nightmare season
Russell Westbrook ‘could come off the BENCH’ for the Lakers after nightmare season, and new head coach Darvin Ham ‘has the organization’s full support’ if he chooses to drop the former MVP and NINE-time All-Star
- Russell Westbrook had a bad 2021-22 season and changes could be coming
- Darvin Ham was hired as the new Lakers coach in the off-season
- And it is reportedly being considered to move Westbrook to the bank
Lakers guard Russell Westbrook could reportedly come off the bench this year for the first time since his rookie season, as new LA coach Darvin Ham looks to shake things up after a brutal 33-49 display.
While the team’s struggles stemmed largely from injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook missed just four games all season — and he didn’t quite manage to put together a standout.
Westbrook’s 18.5 points per game were his lowest since his sophomore season, and he placed sixth-worst true shooting percentage in the league (among players with at least 725 points).
Russell Westbrook had a hugely inefficient 2021-22 season guarding the Lakers
In simpler terms, the UCLA alum also shot well below the average of 29.8 percent of the three-point range at 3.4 attempts per night.
And now The Athletic reported that Westbrook be removed from the grid is “highly considered”, with Ham having “the full support of the organisation” on any rotational changes he makes.
The update comes just a few months after Ham told me Andscape that he saw Westbrook as a starter, and shared a lot of praise for the 33-year-old.
“I like Russell Westbrook, man. Just his mentality, his approach,” Ham said in July.
“I have a sincere plan, a clear plan on how I’m going to use it. I showed him, sat down, brought things up for him. I think it will bloom. We’re not going to try to curtail his energy. We’re just going to diversify it, redirect it.’
Darvin Ham can be seen at his introductory Lakers press conference with GM Rob Pelinka on June 6
Those plans may be different now, though, as the Lakers have been adding to their backcourt lately.
LA traded for defensive specialist Patrick Beverley last month and added Dennis Schroder on Friday for a one-year deal.
Schroder, who played with the team in the 2020-21 season, is a better shooter from the depths than Westbrook and has shown he can play off-ball, a handy skill when he shares the word with de facto ‘forward’ James .
Regardless of his decision, Ham has more options than he did a few months ago, and Westbrook certainly has more competition.