Russell Westbrook off the bench: info or intox on the Lakers side?

If some Lakers fans are already allowing themselves to flock Kyrie Irving jerseys in yellow and purple, while waiting for LeBron’s former friend to join Los Angeles, the reality is this: Russell Westbrook is still in the squad, and it will take definitely do with this season. But then what to do, for example, at the end of the match in a few months if things are not going well…?

It is a subject oh so thorny, and which has drunk all the parties present in the affair.

Frank Vogel was pissed, the fans were pissed, Russell Westbrook was pissed, Jeanie Buss was pissed, the total. What subject are we talking about? Well how to use Russ in the Lakers system, a debate that lasted several weeks and never really found an end or an outcome that suited everyone. From his illustrious career and his accomplishments, from the ambitions of the franchise and the transfer made, having Westbrook in the major five and present at the end of the game seemed like a no-brainer. Shit, with Russ, LeBron and AD, it could work by sticking two role-players alongside them, right? Well no.

Test after test, fail after fail, the mayonnaise did not take and even when Frank Vogel wanted to innovate, it ended up creating a mountain of drama the size of Everest. Don’t want to be on the bench, don’t want to see the friends end up without so and so or another, forehead against forehead and sausage on sausage, the pillars of the franchise have been having a go at each other for months and we’ve seen what it’s towards led: Playoffs watched on TV, far from the projections made a few months earlier. Suddenly, by recruiting Darvin Ham this summer, we wondered what the former assistant of Mike Budenholzer in Milwaukee was going to reserve for us on the Westbrook file. From the start, in a press conference, Ham talked about sacrifice, defense, teamwork, all those things that may displease but are the inevitable ingredients of winning. And that was talking specifically about Russell, so adjustments to be made in the coming weeks.

The rest, we know it, Westbrook’s agent made an explosive public outing, Russ and LeBron did not really check in at the Summer League, and the small world of the city of angels is impatiently awaiting the arrival of Kyrie Irving, one way or another. A kind of bad status quo, which forced the excellent Jovan Buha to The Athletic to answer questions from his readers this week and in particular that on the five major end of the game on the Lakers side during the coming season. And there…

Based on the current roster, I think the quintet that will finish the games will look something like: Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Troy Brown Jr and Austin Reaves. I think Russell Westbrook will also be there a lot, but a lot will depend on his shooting ability, his decision-making that night and his defense overall.

Lakers coach Darvin Ham will have much more power and therefore more opportunities to bench Westbrook late in the game, according to several internal League sources. Frank Vogel had already done it a few times last season. This situation could possibly go as far as Westbrook withdrawing from the major five as well.

The first words are important: we must base ourselves on the current workforce, therefore that of August 4.

Who knows what Darvin Ham’s roster will look like in a month and a half? We have seen more than one transfer made in August and September in the history of the NBA, for example… Kyrie Irving in Boston, transferred by the Cavs on August 22, 2017. If it is, these stories of five in end of the match will no longer be relevant with Irving becoming LeBron’s new teammate under the Californian sun. But but but, that’s with a whole bunch of conditions, and a transfer from Westbrook does not seem to be a big deal at the time of this writing.

If we assume that Russ will be with the Lakers for a while, we must indeed keep in mind the matchups which will be different each evening, but also the state of mind in which the veteran leader will be over time. At the start of the season, everyone is doing their part, it’s the party of optimism, there are great defensive sacrifices that are made, we know the special. On the other hand, when there are three or four defeats in a row, the critics go up and the pot overflows, there it is a whole other world. And it is this world that worries, the one where mayonnaise still does not take, even with Darvin Ham as coach, and the end of matches become strategic facts, namely putting Westbrook on the bench. We saw it several times last season, especially at home where the fans held their breath in the money-time, a bunch of opponents leave the point guard open to fire knowing that he has a good chance of missing. This allows the quintet opposite to strengthen its defense, and therefore to enrage the fans of Los Angeles.

If we follow the pattern of more than a decade, namely LeBron with an excellent right arm and several snipers in the corners, Russell Westbrook could watch several endgames on the bench. Will he be refractory, as we have seen with a bunch of superstars in the past, or will he finally play the collective card above all, even if it means accepting a technical and tactical reality which is now his ? It will be quite the challenge for Ham, for LeBron and AD, as well as for Rob Pelinka and the fans in Los Angeles. It’s hard to believe that RW will do the entire season in the same jersey, but until then we will have to win games and therefore make the necessary adjustments. Because the worst situation will be to struggle to win, to increase the pressure in the media, and all while LBJ adds kilometers to its huge counter, far from being eternal…

Lakers starting point guard, Russell Westbrook? Yes, we want to say yes again, on August 4, 2022. But if it happens, on September 4, 2022 the leader will wear a new jersey. Anyway, if the season starts without huge changes, we will have to strum with the presence of Russ at the end of the match and therefore see what Darvin Ham will reserve for us on his bench.

Source : Jovan Buha – The Athletic

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Russell Westbrook off the bench: info or intox on the Lakers side?

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