Darvin Ham heaps high praise on Russell Westbrook's performances off the bench

Darvin Ham spoke highly about LA Lakers point guard, who has thrived in his role as the sixth man of the team.

Russell Westbrook has been on fire coming off the bench for the LA Lakers (Image credit: Twitter)
By Godwin Matthew | Nov 19, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Darvin Ham joined NBA Today for an interview with Malika Andrews, where he heaped high praise on LA Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook. The former MVP has been coming off the bench for the Purple and Gold. In the 12 games he has played as the sixth man, Russ has averaged 18.3 PPG and 8.1 APG. His brilliance has helped the Lakers with some explosive scoring sprees during games.

Despite Russell Westbrook’s continued efforts, the LA Lakers have managed to fall to a 3-10 record. They are placed fourteenth in the West and are once again placed to have a disappointing season. However, for the nine-time All-Star, things seem to have gotten better as he has embraced the bench role with the Lakers. Darvin Ham, who took over the reins of the team in the offseason, promised to hold players accountable and make tough decisions when needed for the betterment of the team. Asking Russell Westbrook to come off the bench was just one of those decisions, which seems to have worked well for them. Speaking about what he expects from the 34-year-old going forward, Ham said:

“Just to continue doing what he’s doing. Coming off leading that second wave with the reserves and sometimes we leave Bron in there with him and sometimes with both Bron and AD or AD by himself and just to be that guy who sets the pace and sets the tone and we just freed him up to go be Russ and not worry about the ball so much, transferring hands in terms of who we’re playing, obviously, we’re going to play through Bron, we’re going to play through AD in that first unit, but when Russ is out there, we want him to be exactly who he is. He’s embraced it, he sacrificed and he’s thrived because of it and I think the Russell Westbrook you see is only going to get better.”

How important is Russell Westbrook’s contribution off the bench for the LA Lakers?

Russell Westbrook has completely turned his stint around with the LA Lakers. While the fans resented his presence all through last season and the start of this season, they are now cheering the loudest for him when he takes the court. He has been playing with a lot more confidence and is also impacting the performance of other players like Wenyen Gabriel and Austin Reaves in the second unit.

Aside from his offensive prowess, Russell Westbrook has also been getting the job done on the defensive end as well. He has put clamps on players like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Zion Williamson this season. One of the biggest points made by Darvin Ham during his appointment was him wanting Westbrook to be a beast on the defensive end of the floor. The former MVP has put his best effort to fulfill that end of the bargain and will be hoping to continue that in the season ahead.

Also Read: Top five Defensive Player of the Year candidates for the 2022-23 NBA season (sportslumo.com)

With a lot more basketball ahead, the LA Lakers have enough time to turn things around. They have players like Anthony Davis and LeBron James, who can certainly turn things around for them. To add to their strengths if Russell Westbrook continues playing basketball the way he has been, the Purple and Gold could potentially be able to make their way back into the playoff spots.

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