After the point guard stated that the Lakers coach’s choice to bring him off the bench in the preseason may have contributed to a small hamstring strain he experienced, the Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said he and Russell Westbrook have “gone on” and have “an understanding.”
On The Other Hand, Ham
Ham, on the other hand, pushed back on any idea that his rotation in the Lakers’ preseason finale defeat to the Sacramento Kings had anything to do with the physical setback. In that game, Westbrook played just five minutes off the bench before departing with a strained left hamstring.
Before his team’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night, in which they were defeated 103-97, Ham remarked, “Let me be clear with this.”
“The Los Angeles Lakers, myself, or any member of my staff would never intentionally put a player or employee in danger in any manner, shape, or form. In terms of the body, the mind, and the spirit.
That won’t fly with us. Period. That has nothing to do with us. That’s not the kind of people we are.”
Westbrook said that he “definitely” feels that coming off the bench against Sacramento might have been the cause of the injury after the Lakers’ season-opening defeat to the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, 123-109. The game was the first of the 2018-19 NBA season.
He added, “I’ve been doing the same thing for 14 years straight,” alluding to the fact that he had started 1,005 out of 1,022 games throughout his career. “To tell you the truth, I had no idea what to do before the game.
To tell you the truth, I was trying to find out how to keep warm while yet being free… That’s not something I’m used to doing, so I was caught off guard by it.” According to Ham, the two individuals had a “short chat” over the statements.
They Struggled Against the Warriors and Clippers
When they played the Warriors and the Clippers, Ham replaced Westbrook in the starting lineup. This also happened when they played the Warriors. “We moved on, we developed an agreement,” Ham added.
“As the coach of this squad, we are going to do all in our power to ensure that our team achieves the highest level of success possible. And with that, I’ll simply leave it there.”
Ham said that he is aware that “respect” and “routine” are important to the former Most Valuable Player of the League, but that he is also aware of the objectives that are focused on the club and that he will expect Westbrook to fulfill.
“He has a lot of experience under his belt. He has a very long history of being a player of extremely high caliber. Therefore, I am aware of what it entails and how it works, “Ham stated.
“On the other hand, you must be ready to do whatever it is that your team requires you to do in any given situation. Being a professional entail acting in this manner.
Therefore, regardless of how we decide to use him, there must be a willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of one’s teammates and the group as a whole if we want to have any chance of being successful with this strategy.”
Westbrook participated in the game against Golden State for the full 31 minutes and ended with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and 4 turnovers. He shot 7-for-12 from the field.
After that, he faced the Clippers and played 27 minutes, finishing with 2 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals, and 1 turnover while shooting 0-for-11 from the field.
Ham said that he had a “strong strategy in place” for Westbrook’s position going forward, but he also stated that “depending on performance, minutes can go up, minutes may go down.”
Even if their comments were interpreted as criticisms of the coaching staff and front office, Ham stated that he did not have a problem with Westbrook saying what he said to reporters after the Warriors game or with LeBron James’ blunt assessment that “we’re not a team that’s constructed of great shooting.”
Ham referred to the competition as “a league for mature men.” “Things are going to be said, regardless of whether or not they are aimed at a specific person. I take it in stride. For the last 26 years, I’ve been involved with this thing.
I’ve worked with some very quiet teams, and I’ve also done some work with some boisterous teams. On the other hand, such gentlemen have my highest respect. I do not doubt that they hold me in the highest regard possible.
There is no need to take things in any way personally. After resolving the issue, we continue.”