Russell Westbrook's willingness to come off of the bench was one of the hottest topics of the 2022 NBA offseason. He bristled at being benched for crunch time last season, gave one of the most bizarre end-of-season press conferences you'll ever see, and started the first three games of this season for the Los Angeles Lakers under Darvin Ham. When it quickly became apparent that it no longer made sense for him to start, Westbrook accepted a demotion to the bench.
Whether his time there was successful is ultimately a matter of debate. Westbrook quickly became the betting favorite to win Sixth Man of the Year, but the Lakers still never reached .500 with him on the team this season. Lineups with him and without him performed similarly, his tendency towards turnovers and poor shot-selection persisted and he was still often benched late in games.
Now Westbrook's brief tenure as a reserve is, for the time being, over. The Lakers traded Westbrook to the Utah Jazz in February, and after receiving a buyout, he signed with the Los Angeles Clippers and joined their starting lineup. Yet according to TNT's Chris Haynes, Westbrook still wants to win this season's Sixth Man of the Year award. Haynes explained it on the broadcast of Thursday's Clippers loss to the Golden State Warriors.