Russell Westbrook Expected to Be Utilized In Bench Role

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Russell Westbrook Expected to Be Utilized In Bench Role

The Russell Westbrook bench experiment will likely start on Friday at Minnesota.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday that the Los Angeles Lakers are expecting to bring Westbrook off the bench. The idea behind the move is that the veteran point guard will lead the Lakers’ second unit with LeBron James off the floor. Wojnarowski reported that Westbrook is coming off the bench for the foreseeable future, depending on Anthony Davis’s health.

Shams Charania of Stadium reported that Westbrook has been upgraded to probable for the game. He had missed Wednesday’s game against Denver due to a hamstring injury.

It is not the first time that Lakers coach Darvin Ham has tried this idea. During the preseason, Westbrook came off the bench in the finale against Sacramento. Westbrook blamed the hamstring injury on the benching affecting his pregame routine.

It is not official as to who will replace Westbrook in the starting lineup. In Wednesday’s game, they started Austin Reaves alongside Patrick Beverley in the backcourt. Reaves had eight points and two rebounds in Westbrook’s absence. He shot 3-5 from the field, including making two of three three-pointers in the loss. This game would mark the first time that Russell Westbrook has not started since his rookie season in 2009.

Westbrook has struggled early this season amid trade rumors and uncertainty over his role with the team. He is averaging 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game on a 28.9% field goal percentage.

The 0-4 Lakers will face the 3-2 Minnesota Timberwolves at 8 p.m. on Friday.