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Lakers' Patrick Beverley Shades Rumor Regarding Russell Westbrook Coming Off Bench

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 17, 2022

Russell Westbrook (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley isn't buying the idea teammate Russell Westbrook might come off the bench during the 2022-23 NBA season.

Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Friday the idea of moving the nine-time All-Star to a reserve role is being "strongly considered" by L.A.

"Yal be reaching bro. S--t is really funny," Beverley wrote on Instagram in response to a post about the rumor.

The Lakers have revamped their backcourt during the offseason. They acquired Beverley in a trade with the Utah Jazz and signed a pair of notable free agents, Dennis Schröder and Lonnie Walker IV.

Austin Reaves and Kendrick Nunn, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, are among the returnees from last year's roster.

So there will be a lot of competition for playing time alongside the superstar tandem of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. In turn, it's not unfair to suggest Westbrook will have to fight for minutes following a mostly forgettable first season in L.A.

The 2016-17 NBA MVP averaged 18.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.1 assists while shooting just 44.4 percent from the field, including 29.8 percent on threes, in 78 games. He ranked tied for 232nd out of 250 qualified players in FiveThirtyEight's WAR metric (-0.7).

It feels likely the Lakers will give the longtime standout point guard an opportunity to bounce back before severely diminishing his role, though. A lineup with Westbrook, Beverley, Reaves, James and Davis makes the most sense for now.

If Westbrook struggles again, however, Schröder could step into the crunch-time group.

Beverley and Westbrook, two of the NBA's most fiery competitors, have engaged in some on-court confrontations over the years, but it appears they're willing to put any lingering issues aside for the betterment of the Lakers.

L.A. opens the regular season Oct. 18 when it visits the Chase Center to take on the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

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