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Last year was a difficult one for Russell Westbrook as he tried to find his role on the Lakers. Aside from being included in trade rumors for a large part of the season, the possibility of him coming off the bench was also discussed.

Coach Frank Vogel did not relegate the former league MVP to the bench, but the question of whether Russ will start under the new coach Darvin Ham remains open, especially with the additions of Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schroder at the point guard position.

Ham was asked if he thought about starting games with Westbrook on the bench during the media day. While not giving a direct answer, the coach said that the defensive effort is what will decide which players get minutes.

“We’re ways away. We have different options,” he said. “We signed Dennis [Schroder], we signed Pat Bev, we got healthy Kendrick Nunn along with Russ himself, Austin Reaves. We have variety of options to fill our backcourt.

“But again as I mentioned, defensively we got to have a defensive mindset. Those are the guys that gonna get the minutes, guys who are going out there to get stops.

“He told me personally he’s going to commit to that side of the ball and that’s what the camp is for. We’ll see. But we have more than enough options that we’re comfortable with.”