Westbrook’s Role on the Lake Show

Terrence Draddy, Staff Writer

It Might be Time for the Former Triple-Double King to Take on a New Role.

During and after the 2021-22 season, Russell Westbrook was one of the most hated players in NBA history. The real question is, does he deserve the hate, and can Westbrook adjust this season and make a serious box stat comeback? There is one move that could help him do that.

The Lakers are a more calculated team than any of Westbrook’s previous teams, and they adjust the speed of the game accordingly, whereas Westbrook has always played at his own explosive speed. What the Lakers most likely need to do to make sure Westbrook plays to his full potential is put him at 6th man (off the bench). With both Lebron trying to regulate the pace of the game and Westbrook trying to run at 100 mph right from the start, it throws Westbrook off his best. With Westbrook at 6th man and the Lakers surrounding him with more young guys who can handle the constant fast pace, the Lakers would be dangerous from the start, as well as off the bench. Not to say that Westbrook, Lebron, and Anthony Davis would never be out on the floor together, but it seems like the most efficient option for the Lakers.

Throughout his career Westbrook has had more success when he wasn’t sharing the floor with All-Stars and future Hall of Famers. This was clearly shown after Durant left for the Warriors in the 2016-17 season where Westbrook ended up averaging a triple double and becoming MVP with his career high 31.6 ppg (points per game). Even his days on the Rockets and Wizards allowed him to average a triple double throughout the season.

Even when his ppg suffered he was still able to be a more well-rounded threat through getting assists and grabbing rebounds with four out of his last five seasons averaging a triple double without All-Stars on any of his teams, excluding Bradley Beal in the 2020-21 season and Paul George in the 2018-19 season.
Westbrook has been playing like he is 22 years old for years now, and he can’t be trying to work with a team that has him trying to move at a 37-year-old’s pace. He needs to be surrounded with young players who can play at rapid speed and constantly be going. Westbrook is one of very few players who can keep the same pace throughout his entire career and needs to be built around not used to build.