Even though he’s gotten better than he was, Westbrook isn’t performing like the force the Lakers expected when they signed him in the offseason.
LA is currently clinging to the eighth spot in the West with a record of 19-19, which is far from what’s needed if they hope to make it into the playoffs and especially the Finals.
Many people have highlighted Westbrook’s inconsistency and defensive issues as a reason why the team is doing so poorly.
This has led to calls for something – anything – to be done to remedy this situation.
But what should the Lakers do to make this arrangement work?
The Westbrook haters have been crying for this since, well, tip-off of the first game of the season.
There are a lot of people who see no way to make this work and simply want to unload Westbrook on another team – any team that will take him.
This would be a drastic move indeed but, if done correctly, it could help them out a lot.
Westbrook is still an All-Star, there’s no doubt about that, and ideally, LA would get a player with the same caliber in a trade.
The problem is that so few teams are interested in taking Westbrook, who is wildly hot-and-cold and hasn’t changed his game-style that much.
His contract is enormous and he’s obviously stuck in his ways so even if LA wanted to trade Westbrook, they wouldn’t find many suitors for him.
That’s why so many people laugh at the very idea of the Lakers proposing a trade for Ben Simmons.
.@ShannonSharpe on whether the Lakers would trade AD for Ben Simmons:
"Why? Why in the hell would I put Ben Simmons and Westbrook on the same team? Your starting backcourt would be bricks. The Lakers are window shopping." pic.twitter.com/kSgUZbVpoo
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) December 23, 2021
Here’s an idea that LA should play around with: maybe it’s time to bench Westbrook.
Westbrook has consistently been starting games for the Lakers but perhaps they should keep him on the bench for a while and not rely on him so much.
He would still play the game, he just wouldn’t be part of the starters.
Benching Westbrook could achieve something major: it could help the Lakers finally find a lineup that works for them.
All season long, coach Frank Vogel has been attempting to zero in on a rotation that he’s happy with and it hasn’t been working.
Maybe the roster needs to be shaken up a bit, by taking Westbrook out and putting someone else in.
The team has been tinkering with itself for months now, why not tinker again and see how Westbrook does coming off the bench.
Westbrook is a great basketball player, he’s just one who is stuck in his ways and doesn’t seem willing to adjust or change.
This is why the Lakers should put in the effort to focus on Westbrook’s weak points and improve them.
He’s a mess defensively, as we have seen again and again, and that should be the first thing the team addresses.
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) December 26, 2021
From there, they could also force him to rethink his insistence on shooting threes.
After that, there are several other avenues the team could take to make Westbrook a better player.
It’s been so long since Westbrook has really, truly tried to change the sort of player he is.
If he hopes to stick with the Lakers, maybe it’s time he finally does.