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The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly considering bringing Russell Westbrook off the bench with Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schroder starting.
Imagine telling Lakers fans this time last year that Russell Westbrook would be in danger of coming off the bench at the start of the 2022-23 season.
They would have laughed you out of the room.
Yet that’s exactly where Westbrook and the Lakers find themselves this September after a year that has not gone to anyone’s plan.
Lakers reportedly open to Russell Westbrook coming off the bench
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the organization is ready to let new head coach Darvin Hamm make whatever “difficult rotation decisions might lie ahead in the interest of team success.”
That would appear to include the possibility of starting Patrick Beverley or Dennis Schroder, who just agreed to rejoin the team, or even Kendrick Nunn over Westbrook.
The idea of this actually happening is wild. There are a ton of moving parts that’ll have to align for it to go that way. But the fact that they’re considering it speaks to just how wrong the Westbrook experiment has gone for LA.
In fact, this whole report feels like a warning shot across Westbrook’s bow. Training camp is coming up soon. The organization is essentially saying that he can’t arrive feeling comfortable. Nothing is guaranteed despite his talent and history of production. He has to prove himself more valuable at a team level than someone like Beverley or Schroder to assure himself a starting place.
You better believe someone like Beverley won’t make it easy while Schroder has already had success with the team.
We’ll see how Westbrook responds to that kind of message. Will he buckle down and make himself the team player Hamm wants? Or will this entire saga get even uglier?