‘All-In’: Russell Westbrook Ready To Embrace New Lakers Role?

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA
NBA Analysis Network

Throughout the 2022 NBA offseason, one of the most discussed topics was what would the Los Angeles Lakers do with point guard Russell Westbrook. The team had acquired him from the Washington Wizards last offseason, and the risk did not pay off; the results could not have been much worse for Westbrook or the team.

Many will see it as a failure and organizational malpractice that Westbrook was brought back for a second season with the Lakers based on how poorly his first season went. But, the stubbornness when it came to his role on the team that was projected throughout the offseason seems to have dissipated.

Westbrook said that he has had plenty of conversations with new head coach Darvin Ham. Different possibilities were discussed when it came to his role, as nothing has been guaranteed to Westbrook when it comes to his role or playing time. Despite that, he is committed to helping the team win as much as possible.

“I’m all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win,” Westbrook said. “I’m prepared for whatever comes my way.”

The relationship between him, LeBron James and Anthony Davis was one major topic of discussion. Things hit a fever pitch when Westbrook and James didn’t sit near or acknowledge each other during the Las Vegas Summer League, drumming up a ton of speculation.

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Their inability to find success and mesh together was a big reason for the team’s struggles. Westbrooks struggled to find a niche, but the lack of chemistry was a big reason as they played in only 21 games together. Alas, Westbrook still believes there is a ton of potential there.

“There’s so much optimism on how we can be great, how AD, LeBron, myself — can be unstoppable in my opinion,” Westbrook said.

In preparation for the 2022-23 season, Westbrook got back into the gym earlier than he has at any other point in his career. Work ethic and motor are never in question when it comes to Westbrook, as you can count on him to be out there virtually every night.

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While many people think that he is hitting a downturn in his career, Westbrook believes he has plenty left to offer a team.

“I’m not even close to being done,” Westbrook said. “I’m super grateful and blessed to be able to go compete year after year, and that’s all I can do is prepare myself, my mind, my body for as long as I play. …

“I’m going to make mistakes. I’m [occasionally] not going to have good games. There will be times and stretches when I don’t play well. I’ve owned that, and there were times last year that I could’ve played better, and I own that part of it. Moving into this year, I feel even more prepared than I was in years past. That’s what I’m looking forward to the most. That, right there, will get me past any struggles that come my way.”

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It sounds as if Westbrook is entering this season with the right mindset. Being accepting of whatever role he is given by Ham is of the utmost importance, as his best fit with the team may no longer be as a starter, but as the main ball-handler off the bench. If that is the case, Westbrook is ready to accept that role.

Supremely confident in himself, Westbrook knows that he is capable of having a great season with the Lakers. While it seemed like a long shot that he would in Los Angeles at this point, he is ready to get things started and help erase the negativity of last season.