As a 9x All-Star, 1x MVP, and 2x Scoring Champ, Russell Westbrook isn't the type of player you would normally choose to come off the bench. Despite his flaws, the guy still brings a lot to the table and belongs right there next to LeBron James and the rest of the starters.
Unfortunately, drastic times have hit the Lakers and they call for drastic measures.
As great as Westbrook's career has been, his wildly inefficient play has been very concerning and downright hurtful to the team's overall mission. And now, following a string of subpar play, there is talk of taking him out of the starting lineup.
On First Take Friday morning, former NBA big man Kendrick Perkins became the latest to call for Russ to come off the bench and he provided some pretty solid reasoning.
"I think Russ has reached a point in his career where he just don't have it no more. I think Russ coming off the bench, it's not a bad thing. A lot of people out there in the world think 'oh if you're not a starter then you're not at a certain level.' No, it's not about who stars the game, it's about who finishes the game. And I think it would be great because now he could come in, move LeBron James back to the starting point guard position, have Russ come in and now he could be Russell Westbrook. He can be aggressive where he's not standing in the corner....
You have to find a way to put him in a position to be successful and that's not hanging around the 3-point line, that's not shooting those 15-footers, that's getting downhill, dribble handoff action and things to that nature. As of today, right now, it's time for Russell Westbrook to come off the bench."
This season has not been among Westbrook's best stretches. He's averaging 18.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game on 43% shooting. He's also putting up over 4 turnovers per game.
Coming off the bench, the Lakers free up both LeBron and Westbrook to play their more traditional role as leader and orchestrator of the offense. And while it may not solve all their problems, it could definitely help turn things around.
At this point, what do the Lakers really have to lose?