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Rival NBA Executives Believe That Russell Westbrook Should Lead The Second Unit For The Lakers: "It’s Hard To See Him As Anything But A Backup For The Lakers."

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With each passing day, it's becoming clearer than ever that the Los Angeles Lakers will start their 2022-23 NBA season with Russell Westbrook on the roster. While the team has wanted to trade him this offseason, they haven't found a deal for him yet.

Moreover, looking at Russ' productions last season and the fact that he's on a huge contract makes it abundantly clear that the former NBA MVP is most likely to start his new season while donning the Purple and Gold jersey.

But that's not where the troubles end for Russ and the Lakers. Let's assume that Westbrook stays with the Lakers, what's the role that he'll play? The Lakers' new head coach Darvin Ham has been very vocal about the fact that he wants to succeed with Westbrook on the Lakers.

Considering the Lakers have also traded for Patrick Beverley, the chatter around the league has been that the team will start Beverley while Russ leads the second unit.


Russell Westbrook To Embrace The Role Of A Leader For The Second Unit?

Westbrook might be heading towards the end of his prime, he has been in the league for a long time. And for most of his career, he has been a great player and a regular starter on any team that he has played.

Despite that, several NBA executives around the league believe that if Russ wants to stay a part of the Lakers' future, he needs to lead the supporting cast off the bench.

Via Fox Sports:

Rival executives and scouts reached by FOX Sports were nearly unanimous that Westbrook and the Lakers would be best served if he led their second unit, even though Westbrook hasn’t come off the bench in an NBA game since Nov. 28, 2008, a month into his rookie season with the Thunder.

"It’s hard to see him as anything but a backup for the Lakers," one Western Conference scout said. "It’s hard for him to play with [Anthony Davis] and LeBron [James]. It might be OK if they let him go with the second unit. He has to play the only way he knows how unless he can miraculously learn to shoot."

While an Eastern Conference scout also said he sees Westbrook ideally coming off the bench, he believes the biggest question is whether he is ready to accept it.

"It is not what he has left, it is: How he will accept that he is not the player that he was?" the scout said. "It’s similar to Carmelo. I’m not sure Russ has the awareness to accept a lesser role."

Depending on how well Russ adjusts to his new role, it could make or break the Lakers' 2022-23 NBA season. In the same report, an NBA executive also revealed that Russ could end up on Miami Heat, but Ric Bucher believes it would be a huge gamble.

There are simply too many uncertainties around what's next for Russell Westbrook and the Lakers. We will get a much better understanding of it once the new season begins, and we will see the newly formed Lakers in action.