Although veteran guard Russell Westbrook has been a staple in the Los Angeles Clippers’ starting lineup since joining the team in February, he spent a good chunk of the season in a bench role for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The nine-time All-Star appeared in 52 games for the Lakers this season and came off the bench in 49 of them.
He certainly did what he could to make the role work, and at times, he gave the Lakers’ second unit some major life, which got him into the conversation for Sixth Man of the Year.
Unfortunately for Westbrook, finalists for the award were recently announced, and he didn’t make the cut.
Russell Westbrook was not named a finalist for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. pic.twitter.com/hE7PaaktR7
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 14, 2023
When Westbrook joined the Clippers and stopped coming off the bench, his chances of winning the award definitely took a hit.
In his games as a bench player this season, he ended up averaging 16.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game while shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from deep.
The efficiency certainly wasn’t where it needed to be, but he still had some good moments in that role.
Ultimately, the Lakers chose to move on from Westbrook before the deadline in a decision that indirectly allowed him to join the Clippers.
The 34-year-old has looked like a new player since joining the Clippers, and he’ll look to carry that momentum into the first round of the playoffs against the Phoenix Suns.
With Paul George sidelined, the Clippers are going to need Westbrook to carry a big load in the first round, and time will tell if he’s up to the task.NEXT: Charles Barkley Predicts Big NBA Upset In Western Conference