Lakers to Start Bringing Russell Westbrook off Bench?

Lakers guard Russell Westbrook is expected to miss Wednesday’s game with a hamstring issue, but may come off the bench when he is healthy enough to return.Russell Westbrook

His first chance would be Friday vs. the Timberwolves.

“That’s what I’m being told,” ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith said, indicating Westbrook will indeed come off the bench the next time he plays.

Also, per Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Lakers very well could replace Westbrook in the starting lineup with shooting guard Austin Reaves for the foreseeable future.

As of this writing, Westbrook and the Lakers have struggled once again, losing each of their first three games. This follows a 33-49 season in which they failed make the play-in tournament.

Westbrook, 33, is averaging just 10.3 points and shooting a miserable 29 percent from the field, as the Lakers reportedly continue to seek trades.

He also came off the bench in the preseason for one game, indicating it contributed to his iffy hamstring.

“I’ve been doing the same thing for 14 years straight,” he said at the time. “Honestly, I didn’t even know what to do pregame. Being honest, I was trying to figure out how to stay warm and loose. For me, obviously the way I play the game, it’s fast-paced, quick, stop-and-go.

“And I just happened to, when I subbed in, I felt something. Thought it was… didn’t know what it was, but I wasn’t going to risk it in a preseason game. But definitely wasn’t something I was used to. Wasn’t warm enough. But that’s something I just wasn’t accustomed to.”

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