Lakers Make Final Call on Sophomore Sharpshooter

Matt Ryan, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Matt Ryan, Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers have made a decision on the future of sophomore sharpshooter, Matt Ryan, following some impressive performances throughout their pre-season games.

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Los Angeles will be retaining the sharpshooter heading into the new season.

“Lakers’ G/F Matt Ryan has made the team’s current opening night roster, as the team won’t waive him by today’s roster cut deadline, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Ryan shot 37.5 percent from 3-point land in preseason – including 20-point performance with six 3s last Sunday,” Charania wrote.

Ryan spent this summer playing for the Boston Celtics in the Las Vegas Summer League before his time was cut short by an injury he sustained while making a game-winning shot, however, the Lakers have clearly been impressed with his performances and have opted to keep the sharpshooter around for the upcoming season – giving them another shooter, which they sorely needed.

Lakers Move Westbrook to The Bench

For their final pre-season game, the Lakers trialed a new line-up that saw Russell Westbrook moved to a bench role, with head coach Darvin Ham searching for ways to improve his flailing team.

Westbrook’s new role wasn’t unexpected either, as on October 14, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski had reported that Los Angeles intended to trail the 33-year-old in a new role, which they hoped would spark some life back into his game.

“ESPN reporting with @Mcten: The Lakers are planning to bring Russell Westbrook off the bench in the final preseason game vs. Kings tonight (ESPN, 10 ET). Darvin Ham and Westbrook have been exploring possibility of Westbrook quarterbacking the second unit and they’ll try it tonight,” Wojnarowski wrote.
However, Lakers fans never got to see how Westbrook would look as the team’s sixth man because he abruptly left the game with a reported injury after playing just 4:53 of game time, where he went 0-for-two from the field and registered two assists and two turnovers.

Ham Was Impressed With Westbook Off The Bench

It might only have been a sub-five-minute sample size, but it appears as if head coach Darvin Ham was encouraged by what he saw from Westbrook in a bench role, specifically in his reading of the game and making the right passes.

“It’s a very small sample size but he made some great reads. Again, by the time we were able to get into any kind of real groove of the game he had to come out. It is what it is. Injuries are a huge part of our business and major sports in general and you just have to navigate it the best you can,” Ham told reporters in the Lakers post-game press conference.

The Lakers have looked far from a championship contender throughout pre-season, so hopefully, Westbrook can adapt and accept his new role, and Los Angeles can start looking at how to maximize the other talent they have throughout their roster. Because, if pre-season is anything to go by, there is a lot of work that needs to be done if we’re going to see the purple and gold making a deep playoff push midway through next year.

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