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Shannon Sharpe Says Russell Westbrook Won't Be Happy Being A Defense-First Player: "Whatever Your Role Was Last Year, It's Gonna Be Less Than That."

Shannon Sharpe Says Russell Westbrook Won't Be Happy Being A Defense-First Player: "Whatever Your Role Was Last Year, It's Gonna Be Less Than That."

The Los Angeles Lakers are facing a massive conundrum with their point guard situation. Russell Westbrook was acquired by the Lakers last season to be the starting point guard of a team that started to increasingly rely on LeBron James for playmaking and creation. However, things haven't worked out well at all.

Westbrook was an ineffective and inefficient player on the court offensively last season, prompting new coach Darvin Ham to hoping that Westbrook comes motivated to play 'defense-first' basketball.

Russ won't be overjoyed about being asked to take a smaller role, something he struggled to accept last season as well. Shannon Sharpe believes that Russ isn't in a position to bargain for a bigger role and will have to accept what Coach Ham is going to lay out for him because of his performances last season.  

"He ain't gonna be happy. That's what he means for him. Whatever role you thought you had last year, it's gonna be diminished this year. Darvin Ham already told you what he wanted you to do: 'I want you to focus on the defensive end and playing off the ball. I'm gonna need you to dive. I'm gonna need you to cut... I'm gonna need you to do other things other than have the ball in your hands.'"

"In other words, Russ, whatever you thought your role might be, it's gonna be less than that. Whatever your role was last year, it's gonna be less than that. And if you can't get in line with what Coach Ham wants, you're gonna find yourself coming off the bench. And you're not gonna be too happy with that, because you were unhappy with your role last year. I think he's gonna be even more unhappy with his role this year." (h/t SportsKeeda)

Westbrook needs to understand he isn't the same explosive guard he once was. His game hasn't evolved with the times and he is struggling to be a positive force on the basketball court. He can't shoot to play off-ball and he limits the team offensively when he runs the show.

If Russ can't accept a new role, the Lakers have no choice but to trade him. The Lakers have options in front of them, but many teams are asking for too much. It'll be interesting to see whether the Lakers trade Russ or get him to buy into their new strategy.