Russell Westbrook was counted out prematurely according to new Lakers coach Darvin Ham, who explained that he has a plan to use his high energy effectively.
“We ain’t going to try to curtail his energy”
New Lakers coach has “wholehearted plan” for Russell Westbrook
Westbrook caught much of the flack as the LA Lakers failed to make the playoffs. After making moves to gather players like Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, it was assumed the Lakers were going to make big waves.
That failed to happen, and as a result, Russell Westbrook caught the brunt of the negativity for reasons regarding his chemistry issues and turnover rate.
Westbrook plays tenacious basketball at a very fast pace. It’s almost like Oscar Robertson-level speed, and not many players can keep up. The problem is, sometimes those players are on Russ’ team.
That happened last season, when Westbrook’s pace sometimes caused forced plays and bad turnovers. Yet, Westbrook still finished with his lowest turnover rate (3.8) since his 2014 tenure with the OKC Thunder.
After seeing Russell tone himself down in hopes of reviving the chemistry and getting the Lakers the success they needed, he proved he can be tamed after all.
But Ham doesn’t want to tame Westbrook. The new Lakers coach wants Westbrook to exercise his speed and energy to the best of his ability. Apparently, Ham has a plan to execute that properly.
If the Lakers can work around Westbrook’s speed and play a game at that pace, they may patch a large hole in their squad. The league’s youth ran the Lakers around last season with their energy. With Frank Vogel trying to get Westbrook to calm down, the team’s pace was muted.
If the Lakers adapt to Westbrook’s speed, while Ham helps him execute his style of play properly, the squad might be able to move forward in great stride.
LeBron James averaged 30.3 points in his 19th year, showing no signs of slowing down at all. If Anthony Davis can curtail his injuries, the Lakers may be able to revive themselves.
Westbrook is the triple-double king for a reason. If he can get back to being effective, other veterans can take a breath while Westbrook runs the court. The speed and dictation coming from Russ can be used properly, so Ham could bring the best out in him.
The negativity Westbrook received last season got to the point where his family could not attend games. That level of bother is going to hit anybody’s head and affect the way they play.
If Ham can help harness the best of Westbrook and the headlines stop giving him flack, Westbrook might be able to be very effective for the Lakers next season.