From: North Highland Beach, NJ
ORIGINAL: David Levine
“'Lakers head coach Darvin Ham will have more power to bench Westbrook down the stretch of games, according to league sources,' Jovan Buha of The Athletic reported. '(Former head coach Frank Vogel did so a few times last season). That could eventually extend to removing Westbrook from the starting lineup as well.'”
I don't know what to make of this. I know it's the dog days of summer and decent NBA content is scarce. But is this really a story? I don't have a subscription to The Athletic, but I'd be curious to know the context in how the subject came up. In any event, I can't imagine Westbrook is happy with this.
It was part of a mailbag Q&A from the Lakers writer at the Athletic:
What do you think the closing lineup will look like this season?
Based on the current roster, I project the closing lineup to look something like this: Davis, Toscano-Anderson, James, Brown and Reaves. I think Westbrook will often be in there, too, but it will depend on how he’s shooting, his decision-making and his defense.
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham will have more power to bench Westbrook down the stretch of games, according to league sources. (Former head coach Frank Vogel did so a few times last season). That could eventually extend to removing Westbrook from the starting lineup as well.
The Lakers are light on shot creation with my proposed closing group, as Toscano-Anderson and Brown are more play-finishers, and Reaves, while capable of creating his own shot as he showed down the stretch last season, is more of a facilitator and secondary ballhandler.
James and Davis are locks, but Reaves is probably the closest thing to a third lock because of his versatile skill set. He can function as a secondary ballhandler –at least moreso than any Laker other than James, Westbrook and Nunn – and also defend either backcourt spot and smaller wings. His versatility isn’t found much elsewhere on the roster.
Toscano-Anderson has the projected edge over Stanley Johnson, but that could change in training camp, according to league sources.
With the fifth spot, Westbrook may have the advantage considering his status, but he may end up rotating with Brown, Nunn or Walker, depending on how they’re shooting that night.
Thanks for the paste, DL. I guess my broader question is this: To state that Ham, a new coach, has more power to bench Westbrook would seem to imply that the ability to bench Westbrook isn't a binary issue. Like, it's measurable. Sure, Vogel had some power to bench Westbrook. But Ham has more power to bench Westbrook.
And really, at the Staples Center, we really value our coaches based upon their overall capacity to bench Westbrook.
Life is just what happens to you,
While you're busy making other plans
~ John Lennon