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#pounditTuesday, February 7, 2023

ESPN’s Richard Jefferson has interesting theory about Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook dribbling

Dec 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) in action during the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Jefferson thinks he can see right through Russell Westbrook’s ruse.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard Westbrook made a noteworthy comment after a blowout defeat to the Golden State Warriors in Tuesday’s season opener. Westbrook started in Tuesday’s game but was surprisingly brought off the bench for Friday’s preseason finale against Sacramento. The former MVP played just five minutes before exiting with a hamstring injury.

After the Golden State game, Westbrook said that he “absolutely” believed his injury was a result of coming off the bench, thus throwing him off his usual pregame rhythm.

Westbrook’s comments led to an interesting theory from the former NBA forward Jefferson (now a host for ESPN). On Wednesday’s episode of “NBA Today,” Jefferson said he thinks Westbrook was trying to send a message to the Lakers on what will happen if they try to bring him off the bench during the season.

Jefferson is probably onto something here. Westbrook’s hamstring was well enough for him to play 31 minutes and put up 19 points against the Warriors just four days later. Meanwhile last year, Westbrook also claimed that he suffered a different injury when then-coach Frank Vogel benched him.

The former MVP Westbrook is prideful player who has started in 1,005 of 1,022 career games (with all 17 bench appearances coming during his 2008-09 rookie year in Oklahoma City). Things may indeed get ugly if new Lakers coach Darvin Ham has any in-season benchings planned for Westbrook.

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