Rival Exec On Westbrook & Lakers: "Bench Westbrook At End Of Games"

From the moment the Los Angeles Lakers engineered the trade to bring in the ball-dominant Russell Westbrook to join forces with LeBron James, the questions were being asked: "How is this going to work?" Now that we've had half a season to see the results, the same question is being asked. 

According to NBA Insider Tim Bontemps, one rival exec said to him in before the season, "I think it could work if they're willing to bench Westbrook at the end of games." Having watched Russ throw up brick after brick in crunch time in recent games, this is once again the dominant take. 

Westbrook is shooting 20% from the field in his last three games, including an outing in Sacramento where the arena's PA staff even clowned him by playing an embarrassing song clip after every miss. 

On today's Hoop Collective podcast, insider Brian Windhorst was pretty blunt in echoing that anonymous team executive's thoughts: "If you are down by 4 points with less than two minutes to go, one of your guards should not be a guy who's shot 20 airballs on threes this year... I don't think that's a hot take."

Even Russ himself admitted after his last 2-for-14 disaster, that he "can’t make a f**king shot."

The problem, according to Tim MacMahon, is "Russ is not equipped from a basketball skills perspective, to adapt into a role player... There's no way Russ is going to look at himself and say 'Ok, I'm the 4th or 5th option offensively, let me figure out how I'm going to contribute in that role'.. He just is not gonna do that."

With a trade "widely believed to be extremely unlikely", this is the hand that LeBron and the Lakers have dealt themselves, and they are going to have to figure out how to play that hand.