Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after scoring a basket and getting fouled against the Denver Nuggets during the second half at Arena on October 30, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images


  • Russell Westbrook brought everything to the table for the Lakers' first win of the season
  • LeBron James and Anthony Davis helped out by combining for 49 points
  • Moving Westbrook to the bench appears to be the correct call

The Los Angeles Lakers have finally won their first game of the season after defeating the Denver Nuggets, 121-110, on the former's home floor, and Russell Westbrook deserved to get his flowers for this performance.

Entering the 2022-23 NBA season, all eyes were on Westbrook and the Lakers as many believe him to be the weakest link in their Big Three of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Their first five games of the season appeared to have been on the side of Westbrook's most ardent critics as the Lakers were forced to settle for a 0-5 record against powerhouse opponents like the defending champions Golden State Warriors on opening night, the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Westbrook in particular was put in the spotlight for the wrong reasons following their loss to the Clippers as he only tallied two points despite having a total of 11 field goal attempts, six of them being three-pointers.

Against the Nuggets, Westbrook again came off the bench but ended the night with starter numbers with 18 points on 50% shooting (2-of-4 from three, 4-of-4 free throws), eight rebounds, eight assists, and just three turnovers in 31 minutes of action.

To say that Westbrook was firing on all cylinders tonight was a massive understatement as he brought the energy with him throughout the 48-minute affair.

It also helped that his co-stars put up big numbers as well with Davis pitching in a 23-point, 18-rebound double-double plus a steal and a block while James racking up 26 markers, six boards, and eight dimes.

It is worth noting that this was the second game where Westbrook was shifted to the bench as the lead playmaker for the second unit, which began against the Minnesota Timberwolves last Friday, October 28.

At first glance, it looks like the Lakers put themselves into a hole by putting Westbrook in such a position, but it appears to be the right move as it provides the starting five with an additional shooter in the form of Troy Brown Jr.

Westbrook and sophomore sensation Austin Reaves have formed an unlikely partnership off the bench and their combined efforts off the bench, alongside quality minutes from Matt Ryan and Wenyen Gabriel, helped push the Lakers over the hump.

According to StatMuse, the Lakers posted a minus-16 in efficiency when Westbrook was off the floor and plus-18 when he was playing which points to head coach Darvin Ham's decision to bring him off the bench appear to be the correct call.

"Brodie" is best utilized as a ball-dominant guard and having him play with a second unit that has little depth in the point guard position is going to give him that opportunity to run the playbook.

The nine-time NBA All-Star received praise from his teammates for his willingness to move to the bench.

With how well the Lakers have played recently, it looks to be the trend moving forward.

Russell Westbrook, Los Angeles Lakers
Injured Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers cheers on his team during their game Golden State Warriors in the first half at Chase Center on April 07, 2022 in San Francisco, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images