Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook underperformed offensively with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, under new head coach Darvin Ham, the nine-time All-Star is planning to prove critics wrong in the 2022-23 season.
When asked by team reporters whether or not he contemplated stepping away from the game this offseason, Westbrook replied, “I’m not even close to being done.”
“I’m super grateful and blessed to be able to go compete year after year, and that’s all I can do is prepare myself, my mind, my body for as long as I play.”
A number of NBA betting sites are giving the Lakers top-1o odds of winning their 18th championship in 2023. Find out which sportsbooks are showing the highest odds.
IT'S HERE 🗣
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) September 26, 2022
In June, the triple-double king exercised his $47,063,478 player option for the 2022-23 season. This option is part of the five-year, $205 million contract Westbrook signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017.
Last season, in 78 starts with the Lakers, the 14-year veteran averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1 steal per game. The guard shot 44.4% from the field and 29.8% from 3-point range as well.
While Westbrook’s averages for assists and rebounds remain high, fans are wondering if his best seasons are behind him. With the Lakers, he averaged less than 20 points per game for the first time since 2009-10 season.
Lakers guard Russell Westbrook plans to redeem himself in the 2022-23 season
NBA analysts believe Westbrook’s performances last season had everything to do with his role on the team. Not only does this fall back on coaching, but it also shows that Westbrook thrives as the lone superstar.
Needless to say, the Lakers have several superstars. Some folks would say that Westbrook cares more about his own stats than he does winning. But maybe the veteran could take a lesser role on the team, especially if it means winning more games.
In the 2020-21 season with the Washington Wizards, the two-time scoring champion averaged career highs of 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists per game. Plus, he averaged 22.2 points per contest.
The Wizards finished 34-38 (.472) and eighth overall in the Eastern Conference with Westbrook. It was also Washington’s only playoff appearance over the past four seasons.
So, can Ham make it work with LeBron, Davis, Beverely, and Westbrook? Lakers G.M. Rob Pelinka is counting on it. Though, as stated before, Westbrook will have to take a lesser role on the team.
A few weeks ago, rumors suggested that Ham would bring Westbrook off the bench for the 2022-23 season. An unnamed source told The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, “The prospect of Westbrook coming off the bench is being strongly considered.” Sometimes less is more. After all, the Lakers are in a win-now mode.
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