Lakers Teammate Flat Out Denies Westbrook Will Be A Bench Player

Is Russell Westbrook really going to come off the bench this year for the Los Angeles Lakers? That was the case in the team's last preseason game, as head coach Darvin Ham says he and Russ discussed the chance for him to "play faster" and do his Russ thing with the second unit. 

But one guy who's not buying this "Russ off the bench" business is his own backcourt mate, Patrick Beverley. 

"He's not gonna come off the bench. We all know that... I need him in the first unit with me. [The media] trying to kill my boy Russ, man." 

His former teammate in Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant, has also come to Russ's defense, saying "It's like now you're making him the butt of your jokes. ... The dialogue around our game is just so toxic at this point.”

Westbrook suffered a minor hamstring injury in that final preseason game when he came in with the second unit, but he's been declared probable for tonight's season opener. 

The 9-time All-Star has started 1,004 consecutive games in the NBA and hasn't come off the bench in 14 years, since his rookie season. 

It's expected that he will start on opening night, as they visit the Golden State Warriors. 

Photo: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports