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The Lakers, winners of two in a row but still No. 13 in the West standings, have plenty of problems. Russell Westbrook is far from their biggest issue, however.
Russell Westbrook was an early-season talking point for a Lakers team that really struggled out of the gate, thanks in part to a tough schedule to start the season. Yet, Los Angeles has won two games in a row, and in a crowded Western Conference, are well within striking distance.
While they have plenty of teams to pass, the West has so much parity the Lakers are just 5.5 games back of the one-seed.
Westbrook’s contract may be an albatross, but he’s actually adjusted quite well to his bench role thanks to head coach Darvin Ham. So, where do the team’s struggles lie? Look no further than the backcourt, and Westbrook’s teammate.
Russell Westbrook isn’t the Lakers biggest problem
Off the court, Westbrook is an issue. His contract is un-tradable unless LA attaches a future first-round pick to it. On the court, though, he’s performed quite well in a bench role through 14 games. Russ is averaging 15.7 points in 28 minutes per contest, shooting 41.5 percent in the process.
Wesbrook’s teammate, Kendrick Nunn, is a far different story.
Nunn has acknowledged his issues, especially of late.
“I’m just trying to take the lid off the basket,” Nunn said. “That’s all. That’s it. I got some great looks, just taking that lid off and getting comfortable in my spots, get comfortable seeing where they are coming from. I’ll be good.”
While Nunn’s splits suggest he’d be better as a starter than in a reserve role, it’s a small sample size. And frankly, LA has enough issues with spacing, and Nunn has proven unreliable so far this season from the three-point line. Opponents won’t respect him enough to leave the lane, in similar fashion to Brodie.
Consistency seems to be an issue with Nunn, which Ham mentioned on late, per an article by the LA Times. Until he rights the ship, Nunn is clearly holding back the Lakers backcourt.