Just about every NBA player wants to be in the starting lineup and become a star or superstar, but sometimes his team is better off if he comes off the bench and embraces more of a sixth-man role.
It takes the type of man who is secure enough about his status or is simply willing to subjugate his ego to handle being “demoted” to a bench role without complaining.
These two players have not only been willing to come off the bench after starting for years, but they’re also doing quite well in that role now.
1. Russell Westbrook
Last season, which was Russell Westbrook‘s first with the Los Angeles Lakers, was an unmitigated disaster, and most fans wanted him off the team or failing that, to at least come off the bench.
Many figured it wouldn’t improve his production too much, but he has actually been playing much better off the bench than he did as a starter for L.A.
In seven games as a non-starter, the former league MVP is averaging 18.6 points on 49.5 percent shooting overall and 42.9 percent from 3-point range, plus 5.1 rebounds and 7.1 assists per game.
Lakers fans are starting to cheer for him after jeering him relentlessly over the last calendar year, and believe it or not, he may be the favorite right now to win the Sixth Man of the Year award.
Russel Westbrook is now the front runner at +175 to win 6th man of the year.
Let Russ cook 🔥 pic.twitter.com/ZAOsLAvP5B
— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) November 10, 2022
2. Malcolm Brogdon
In his last four seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers, Malcolm Brogdon started in every game, but when he was traded to the Boston Celtics over the summer, it became clear he would have to accept coming off the bench.
But he has been doing well, as he has given what was formerly a very faint Boston bench some serious pop and production.
The former Rookie of the Year is averaging 13.7 points in 23.0 minutes per game while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from 3-point range for the 8-3 Celtics.