The Los Angeles Lakers are finally trending in the right direction this season.
After opening the campaign with five consecutive losses, Los Angeles has won back-to-back games to improve to 2-5.
Russell Westbrook has looked like a brand new player for the Lakers ever since the team started playing him off the bench, and he had a huge hand in both of L.A.’s recent wins.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham recently revealed that he wants to get Westbrook in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation.
Darvin Ham says one of his goals is to get Russell Westbrook in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 3, 2022
With the way Westbrook has played lately, it’s entirely possible that he’ll find himself in the mix for the Sixth Man of the Year award by the end of the season.
The Lakers are 2-1 since Westbrook was moved to the bench.
In all three of those games, the veteran has been one of the most impactful players on the floor.
He’s averaging 16.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per contest in his new role.
Moreover, he’s shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from deep since the move to the bench.
For reference, in his three games as a starter this season, he averaged 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per contest while shooting 28.9 percent from the field and 8.3 percent from deep.
What’s interesting is that Westbrook’s playing time has actually increased since he started coming off the bench.
As a starter this season, he was averaging 28.5 minutes per game, and in his new role, he’s averaging 29.8 minutes per game.
The key difference has been when his minutes have come.
The nine-time All-Star no longer shares the floor with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis quite as often as he did when he was starting, which has done wonders to improve the trio’s well-documented fit issues.
Westbrook suddenly looks like one of the Lakers’ most valuable players, and if he keeps it up, he may very well find himself in the mix for Sixth Man of the Year.NEXT: Fans Are Remembering A Surprising Fact About An NBA Legend