Darvin Ham says Russell Westbrook has been ‘counted out prematurely’ and will start for Lakers: ‘He’s going to flourish’

Jonathan Sherman
3 Min Read

The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly been hard at work seeking a potential trade partner to take on Russell Westbrook, but so far nothing has struck.

For that reason, the Lakers’ new coaching staff has certainly been spending time devising a plan for what it will do if Westbrook remains on the roster by the time the 2022-23 NBA regular season begins. If Westbrook is still on the team’s roster by the start of the regular season, he’ll absolutely be in the rotation.

As it turns out, new Lakers head coach Darvin Ham recently spoke about Westbrook and the role he could have with the Lakers in the upcoming season.

“Counted out prematurely,” he told Andscape’s Marc J. Spears regarding Westbrook. “Counted out. Prematurely. I’ve had some great interactions with Russ, in person, over dinner, over the phone, over text messages. I love Russell Westbrook, man. Just his mentality, his approach. Just to see him, a guy of that magnitude and everything he’s done in the league to get hated on. But being me, I got a wholehearted plan, a clear plan on how I’m going to use him. I showed it to him, sat down, brought stuff up for him. I think he’s going to flourish. We ain’t going to try to curtail his energy. We’re just going to diversify it, redirect it.”

Ham also made it clear that he “indeed” sees Westbrook as a starter on the team.

“Yes, indeed,” he said when asked if he sees Westbrook as a starter. “It’s just the way we’re going to play and the type of people that’s going to be out there on the floor, that’s the biggest thing.”

Even though Westbrook was panned last season and blamed for much of the Lakers’ struggles, he didn’t have a bad season statistically. He averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game. Though it was a step down for him, a lot of teams would be happy to get that kind of production from their point guards.

Still, shooting efficiency was an issue for Westbrook as was his apparent inability to mesh well with his teammates on the floor.

There are worse things than the Lakers possibly being stuck with Westbrook for another season, but Ham and his assistants are going to have to work hard to make sure that he fits in better and enjoys a role that is more curtailed to his strengths.

Luckily, it seems like the staff is doing just that.

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Jonathan is a freelance writer, filmmaker, and passionate fan of the NBA. In the past Jonathan has covered politics, entertainment, travel, and more. He is a proud contributor of Lakers Daily.