Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham is considering lineups that would include both Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley in the backcourt, according to NBA reporter Marc Stein:
Marc Stein @TheSteinLine
Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley have already been in contact since becoming Lakers teammates, league sources tell me, and new coach Darvin Ham has told them he has lineups in mind to play Russ and PatBev side-by-side. <br><br>More around-the-NBA notes: <a href="https://t.co/t5akSYVuKz">https://t.co/t5akSYVuKz</a>
Ham is entering his first season as L.A.'s head coach after the team parted ways with Frank Vogel. He is trying to turn around a 33-49 team that finished 11th in the Western Conference last year.
Beverley is among the new faces aboard after the Lakers acquired him from the Utah Jazz for Talen Horton-Tucker and Stanley Johnson on Aug. 25.
The Lakers acquired Westbrook from the Washington Wizards during the 2021 offseason. Westbrook had just averaged a triple-double en route to leading the Wizards to the playoffs.
However, Westbrook struggled in purple and gold last year, to the point where he posted career-low figures in player efficiency rating and win shares, per Basketball-Reference.
Trade rumors persisted this offseason, but Westbrook, who exercised his 2022-23 player option, still remains a Laker.
Now it appears the Lakers will try to run it back with Westbrook, LeBron James and Anthony Davis for at least one more season as the team shuffled the pieces around them.
Gone are veterans such as Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and DeAndre Jordan. New faces include Beverley, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Troy Brown, Lonnie Walker IV and Thomas Bryant.
Beverley figures to play a key role for the Lakers, as he did with the Minnesota Timberwolves last year. He helped Minnesota earn its first playoff appearance in four years while averaging 9.2 points, 4.6 assists and 4.1 rebounds in 25.4 minutes per game.
It's fair to wonder how the Westbrook-Beverley pairing could fair as an outside shooting tandem. Beverley is coming off a season in which he knocked down just 34.3 percent of three-pointers. Westbrook made just 29.8 percent of his shots beyond the arc last year.
But at least one analyst, ESPN's Kendrick Perkins, is encouraged by their defensive potential.
We'll soon find out how it all shakes out as the Lakers open the season on Oct. 18 at the defending champion Golden State Warriors.