Russell Westbrook Is ‘Expected’ To Come Off The Bench Friday Against The Timberwolves

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook will come off the bench Friday when they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves, with the intention for him to provide a playmaking presence in second units.

Due to a hamstring injury, Westbrook sat out the Lakers’ 110-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets. Through three games, the former MVP is averaging 10.3 points (36.6 percent true shooting), 6.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, and two steals. He’s struggled mightily to score the ball effectively, even in a smaller role.

Friday will mark the first time since Nov. 28, 2008, Westbrook’s rookie year, that he’s coming off the bench. It’ll be just the 18th time in his career. He started the first three games this season for Los Angeles, as well as all 78 he played in 2021-22.

Aside from Lonnie Walker (15.3 points per game), the 0-4 Lakers haven’t received much offensive pop from their stable of guards thus far. Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, Patrick Beverley, and Austin Reaves are averaging a combined 25.6 points and 9.9 assists per game. At the very least, this shift is an experiment to try and see if it’s the requisite move to help improve their collective guard play. We’ll get a better sense of its early returns when Los Angeles and Minnesota tip off inside Target Center at 8 p.m. EST Friday.