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Russell Westbrook finds a ridiculous way out of Los Angeles Lakers bench role

It looks like Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook has found a way out of being their sixth man and it’s by blaming his recent injury on being placed in that role originally.

Heading into the Lakers’ 123-109 opening night loss to the defending champion Golden State Warriors, all seemed right in LA when it came to the situation between the team and Westbrook. Despite rumors throughout the offseason and training camp that they were looking to ship off the nine-time All-Star, Westbrook and head coach Darvin Ham had agreed on a new role that seemed beneficial for him and the team.

In the final game of the Lakers’ preseason schedule, the one-time NBA MVP had agreed to come off the bench and lead the second unit in a featured sixth-man role. A surprising development for a player of his stature, but one that might allow him to play to his strengths. Something that seemed impossible in a lineup with starters and fellow All-Stars Lebron James and Anthony Davis.

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Unfortunately, the Lakers saw little of the experiment after Westbrook injured his hamstring during the game. Westbrook is now claiming that the injury only happened because he was put into a role as the sixth man in the first place. Something he somehow was unprepared for after 15 years in the NBA.

Russell Westbrook makes surprise excuse for not going back to sixth man role with Los Angeles Lakers

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Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Following the team’s opening night loss, Westbrook explained to the media that coming off the bench was why he hurt his hamstring in their preseason game last week because he was not mentally prepared for the role of coming in an NBA game as a reserve.

“I’ve been doing the same thing for 14 years straight. Honestly, I didn’t even know what to do pregame. Being honest, I was trying to figure out how to stay warm and loose. … That’s something I just wasn’t accustomed to.”

-Russell Westbrook on bench role

Making such a change after more than a decade of playing one way is certainly not easy. However, it also isn’t as difficult as, say, switching from player to coach. Westbrook has been surrounded by many veteran bench players throughout his career and has an NBA coaching and training staff that can adequately prepare him for a change in role. Keeping him warm and mentally engaged for a key position on the roster.

Making the excuse that he didn’t know what to do to stay prepared is fairly ridiculous, and seems like a perfect out to remain in the starting lineup — which he was on Tuesday night — and not go back to a role he probably doesn’t really want to fill in the first place.

Westbrook had 19 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists in 31 minutes of action. He was also a -6 during his time on the floor, which was better than James (-9) and Davis (-21).

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