Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook is off to a disappointing start to begin the 2022-23 season. On Wednesday, the nine-time All-Star missed the Lakers’ 110-99 loss against the Denver Nuggets due to a hamstring injury.
Through four games, the 15-year veteran is averaging 12.3 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1.8 steals. As a starter, the guard has struggled to make his baskets. He’s shooting 17-of-55 (30.9%) from the floor and 2-of-16 (12.5%) from outside the arc.
According to a few NBA betting sites, the Lakers have the 16th-best odds to win the championship in 2023. Multiple sportsbooks are dropping their title odds as the losses pile up.
The last time Russell Westbrook came off the bench was his rookie season. Also vs the Timberwolves.
5,082 days ago. pic.twitter.com/ksycDYqBu0
— StatMuse (@statmuse) October 28, 2022
In the Lakers’ 111-102 loss to the Timberwolves on Friday night, Westbrook came off the bench for the first time since his rookie season. He played decent overall. More importantly, the guard is accepting the change.
“From Day 1, I mentioned I’m the guy that’s willing to do whatever for the team,” Westbrook said after the loss.
“I’ll sacrifice whatever it is that needs to be sacrificed — parts of my game that I’ve done for years to accommodate whatever it is that the coach needs me to do, and I’ll continue to do that.”
Russell Westbrook is accepting the bench role, making sacrifices to help the Lakers win
In 33 minutes, Westbrook ended his performance off the bench with 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists. He finished 6-of-17 (35.3%) shooting from the field and 1-of-4 (25%) from 3-point range.
But the guard finished with 5 turnovers as well. If Westbrook continues to come off the bench, he will serve as the primary playmaker for the second unit.
Per Land of Basketball statistics, the Lakers never started 0-5 during Dr. Jerry Buss’s 34-year ownership tenure. Of course, the Sacramento Kings are now the only other winless team left.
For the first time since the 17th game of his rookie season, Russell Westbrook will come off the bench pic.twitter.com/EzxJH65Odz
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) October 28, 2022
“I’m actually not mad with how we played tonight,” continued Westbrook. “Our energy was in the right direction, which I’m happy about.”
“And I think it’s important obviously to get AD [Anthony Davis] back and get guys healthy, getting us — get things going. But until then, nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We got to find a way to compete and get a win.”
After Friday’s loss, fans sensed more positivity from Westbrook. Though, optimism alone does not win games. The Lakers need the two-time scoring champ to improve his jump shots. Not to mention, Davis has to return as soon as possible.
Bettors are still expecting Lakers G.M. Rob Pelinka to trade Russell Westbrook this season. For some sportsbooks, it’s a matter of when rather than if. The NBA trade deadline this season is February 9, 2023, at 3 p.m. ET.
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