Should The Lakers Keep Russ?
Russell Westbrook is having a bounce-back season after embracing his new role as the 6th man. Since his hiring, head coach Darvin Ham has been all about integrating Westbrook into his system and allowing him to better fit around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
“He got Russ to buy into his role!”— The LADE Show (@TheLADEShow) December 5, 2022
Matt Barnes says no other coach could’ve done what Darvin Ham has with Russ 💯
Agree or disagree? ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/4IYp13ja8y
The 34-year-old guard is averaging 15-6-8 while shooting 40.1% from the field and 29.5% from 3.
His production off the bench for LA has been extremely valuable, as he has been able to keep the Lakers afloat when LeBron and AD are off the floor.
Westbrook’s playmaking has been key as he creates opportunities for his teammates. Operating as the primary ball-handler in the second unit allows the former MVP to play at his best. He is a threat to score in the paint and with the mid-range jumper, but playmaking is his best ability.
His defense has also been improved this season, contributing to his resurgence.
Westbrook’s new role has rejuvenated his career and brought his swagger back to the game. The media and fans turned on him in his first season with the Lakers and wanted him to be traded.
The Lakers are weighing three different paths for a potential trade, per @jovanbuha— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) December 1, 2022
“Path 1 is to trade Russell Westbrook…Path 2 is to trade some combination of Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and picks…Path 3 would be two separate deals” pic.twitter.com/Sz2qxT4PdP
He has still been involved in trade rumors this season. Los Angeles seems more prepared to use a package of Patrick Beverley, and Kendrick Nunn compared to making a big move involving Westbrook.
This has to do with what he has brought to the team this season and not wanting to give up their last two tradeable first-round picks.
Westbrook’s ability to elevate the play of his teammates, especially in the bench unit, helps the Lakers be a better team. The big’s specifically have benefited from Westbrook’s playmaking ability as Thomas Bryant and Wenyen Gabriel have gotten easier looks at the rim.
RUSS WITH THE BOARD. LEBRON WITH THE FLUSH. 🤯🤯🤯 pic.twitter.com/kCFY7NmXoC— Lakers All Day Everyday (@LADEig) December 10, 2022
He has also created some highlights with LeBron and AD with his playmaking skills, as he is able to draw the defense when he gets into the paint, freeing up his teammates.
While Westbrook may not be playing at the level of his MVP days, he has been a star in his role as the 6th man, leading in the 6th Man Of The Year Race. The Lakers have found his place, and he will continue to be one of their most impactful players if they keep him.