Darvin Ham will reportedly start experimenting with Russell Westbrook coming off the bench, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and David McMenamin of ESPN.
There’s a hope that Westbrook can play freer and faster with ball in his hands on second unit — and have to worry less about fitting away from ball around the starting group. It is certainly an idea they’ll continue to discuss with start of regular season next week.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 14, 2022
The Westbrook sixth-man experiment will help Ham see if the former MVP can anchor a bench unit beginning on Friday. According to the Woj, the Lakers hope that moving Westbrook to the bench can help him play freer and faster as the anchor of the second unit.
Westbrook (five points, four assists, three rebounds, and one block) started the Lakers’ preseason game against Minnesota. The 33-year-old point guard was a scapegoat for last season’s 11th-place finish despite averaging 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.1 assists per game. The main culprit for the Westbrook slander was the triple-double kings’ inefficient three-point shooting and lack of explosiveness at times.
When the Lakers hired Ham over the summer, the rookie head coach said he believed Westbrook has a “ton left in that tank” and that he has a “wholehearted plan” to get the best out of Westbrook this season. Westbrook’s preseason finale performance will likely help determine Brodie’s role once the regular-season begins.
The Lakers play the Warriors next Tuesday on the season’s opening night.