It was following in the footsteps of last season when Westbrook was lacking from just about every part of the court.
This led many people to wonder if he would be traded away or even waived by LA.
But something interesting happened after the first few weeks of this season: Westbrook and head coach Darvin Ham had a serious heart-to-heart and changed Westbrook’s role within the team.
Instead of being a starter, Westbrook started coming off the bench – and that made all the difference.
Games with 10+ assists off the bench this season:
— StatMuse (@statmuse) January 10, 2023
Now, Westbrook is one of the best bench players in the league and is spoken about as a possible Sixth Man of the Year winner.
The talk of him winning those honors gets even louder when you look at the numbers behind Westbrook’s recent return to greatness.
Westbrook has 12 games with 10+ assists off the bench this season.
That’s more than the rest of the NBA combined.
Westbrook has not only accepted his new designation within the team, but he has also wholly embraced it and is seemingly very comfortable with it.
There are still times when he makes confounding, bone-headed plays but he has been performing with much more intelligence, patience, and teamwork among his fellow Lakers players.
For years now, Westbrook was spoken of as a selfish player who always wanted to run plays and handle the ball.
He has obviously softened his point of view and has altered his style for the benefit of himself and the rest of his team.