The arrival of Dennis Schroder to the team seems to have further complicated Russell Westbrook's current stature with the Los Angeles Lakers. This follows LA's decision to bring in Patrick Beverley via trade, as the team now appears to have an overabundance of options for their frontcourt. Could Russ be the odd man out here?
Well, not quite. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Lakers actually see Beverley as a wing player. This means that a starting spot in one of the two guard positions could be for Westbrook for the taking:
With [Russell] Westbrook poised to remain a Laker when new coach Darvin Ham opens his first training camp as L.A.’s new coach, sources say Beverley is regarded internally by the club as a 3-and-D wing and not as a point guard at this stage of his career. The Lakers, in other words, see Westbrook and [Dennis] Schröder as their point guards as of Sept. 18 … and the likes of Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves, and Lonnie Walker IV as 2s and 3s.
It sounds like Schroder and Westbrook will be the Lakers' starting backcourt on opening night. Beverley will fill in the three spot, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis taking up the frontcourt. That's essentially a four-guard lineup with AD taking his less preferred role as a center.
It is worth noting, however, that nothing is guaranteed at this point. It wouldn't be surprising if the Lakers still decide to pull the trigger on a Russell Westbrook trade if the right offer comes. What is clear, though, is that LA is now preparing for the seemingly realistic possibility that they enter the new season with Westbrook on the roster. At this point, it just feels like they have no other choice.