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Rob Pelinka, Darvin Ham want Russell Westbrook to put defense first

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For the past ten years or so, Russell Westbrook has been one of the best players in the NBA.

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He was named to nine All-Star teams and was awarded the 2017 regular season MVP award, and has averaged triple-doubles in four of the past six seasons.

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However, the Los Angeles Lakers guard has become a lightning rod for criticism due to his uneven play.

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Although he is still very effective in attacking and scoring under the basket, hitting an open player, rebounding and accelerating the pace, he had problems passing the ball and hitting out of bounds.

Then there is his defense, which has been described as sluggish, due in part to his tendency to leave his man before the end of possession to chase defensive rebounds.

Two of the most important figures in the Lakers organization begged Westbrook to change his approach.

By using Lakers Daily:

“Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darwin Ham and vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka reportedly met with defenseman Russell Westbrook on numerous occasions to tell him he has to be a defensive player first.”

Leitzinger’s high school product still has some athleticism and quickness, which suggests he could be an effective quarterback if he wanted to.

He’s averaged 1.7 steals per game over his 14-year career, but multiple extended stats show he’s net-minus at this end of the floor.

Ham said he personally spoke to Westbrook and that their relationship is off to a good start. But it remains to be seen if Westbrook will actually heed his new coach’s advice when it really matters.

Of course, it remains to be seen if Westbrook will make it to the Lakers this fall.


Lakers sign Vanderbilt’s Scottie Pippen Jr. to a two-way contract


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