The Lakers are expected to bring Russell Westbrook off the bench when he returns to action following a hamstring-related absence, allowing him to be the primary play-maker for the team’s second unit, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
Westbrook, who missed Wednesday’s game in Denver, was originally listed as questionable for Friday’s contest in Minnesota, but has since been upgraded to probable, tweets Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group.
Anthony Davis continues to be listed as questionable for Friday due to low back tightness and is considered a game-time decision. If Davis misses the game, that could keep Westbrook in the starting lineup, Wojnarowski notes (via Twitter).
However, Davis did participate in the Lakers’ Friday shootaround. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link), the team used a starting five of Davis, LeBron James, Patrick Beverley, Lonnie Walker, and Damian Jones during that shootaround.
The Lakers attempted to bring Westbrook off the bench in their preseason finale two weeks ago, but the experiment lasted just five minutes before he left the game due to a hamstring injury. The former MVP later said that he thought not being in the starting lineup was a factor in his injury, since he didn’t have the same pregame routine he has grown accustomed to.
Still, it sounds like the Lakers and head coach Darvin Ham still believe the idea of Westbrook joining the second unit has merit. Even if it doesn’t happen on Friday, it appears L.A. will try it again sooner or later — if it works, the team intends to stick with it for the foreseeable future, per Wojnarowski (Twitter link).