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Could Russell Westbrook become a Sixth Man of the Year candidate?
Is there a chance the Lakers could become a contender if Westbrook embraces being a reserve and blossoms into a Sixth Man of the Year candidate?
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1. Could Russell Westbrook become a Sixth Man of the Year candidate?
Russell Westbrook’s time with the Lakers has been a nightmare and he still may end up being traded this season but is there a chance the Lakers could become a contender if Westbrook embraces being a reserve and blossoms into a Sixth Man of the Year candidate? The Sporting Tribune’s Ryan Ward thinks Westbrook’s bench role might actually work:
“Somehow, someway Darvin Ham has gotten Westbrook to buy into a role in the second unit. That seemed impossible a year ago with Frank Vogel calling the shots, but Ham has been able to pull it off, and who knows what exactly led to this all coming together the way it did.
Regardless of who convinced Westbrook to get over it and drink the Kool-Aid, the fact of the matter is it is working. He has embraced the role for the time being and may be starting to win over the Lakers faithful.”
2. Sad state of L.A. basketball
The Lakers and Clippers won their last games but they are still a combined 4-9 this season and have the two worst offenses in the league based on NBA team offensive efficiency and, well, anyone with two eyes watching them play this season. The Sporting Tribune’s Brandon Deutsch has the Lakers at No. 27 and the Clippers at No. 24 in his latest NBA Power Rankings but thinks there might be some light at the end of the tunnel for the Lakers.
“If the Lakers can continue to count on Austin Reaves, Matt Ryan, Lonnie Walker, and others to hit 3’s down the stretch of games, then they could start piecing together some wins with their dominant defense… Even though they are 1-5, their 2nd overall defensive rating of 104.7 is an indicator of better things to come.”
3. BINGO: 3 questions with Ralph Lawler
Hall of fame broadcaster Ralph Lawler has agreed to check in weekly with The Sporting Tribune this season to share his insights on the Clippers, the team he was the voice of for four decades. Although the Clippers began the season as championship favorites, Ralph is concerned with what he has seen from the team recently.
“The team’s energy has been inconsistent and 3-point shooting has been way sub-par. But the big concern is Kawhi Leonard’s knee. The team’s hopes to be a title contender this year or next, rest on Leonard’s ability to play a large number of games at his customary level.”
4. Kawhi Leonard will continue to be sidelined
The Clippers escaped with a victory last night against the 1-7 Houston Rockets at home after being down by five points with 90 seconds left but will continue to be without Kawhi Leonard as they go to Texas this week to face the Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs. More from The Sporting Tribune:
5. Vavae Malepeai keeping his dream alive in Hawaii
Former USC running back Vavae Malepai is still working out every day in the hopes of being on an NFL team next season but The Sporting Tribune’s Nick Abramo caught up with him in Honolulu where Malepeai is on the sidelines of Hawaii high school football games, shooting video and going on air for KHON-2’s weekly TV show called Cover2.
So just what could this powerful football player — who went from high school stardom with the Mililani Trojans to a spot in the starting backfield at the school often called Tailback U — be up to? “As of right now, my main focus is getting to the NFL,” he said. “I am doing that gig at KHON-2 and getting experience at that. But I’m working out six days a week, including four two-a-days. I want to get that call.”
6. Jacob Amaya experiences a unique season of highs and lows
The Sporting Tribune’s Bruce Kuntz, who covers the Dodgers farm system, checks in today with a look at Dodgers number 15 prospect Jacob Amaya.
“It felt like multiple seasons within one year following Dodgers number 15 prospect Jacob Amaya through his 2022 campaign. His scorching hot streak to open the year fell quickly through the middle of the year before bouncing back with a vengeance over the final month.”
7. Odds and Ends presented by Circa Sports
Here are some odds at Circa Sports if you’re thinking about placing a wager:
8. Ticket Time presented by TickPick
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game this week:
9. On the Air presented by Pirnia Law
Here are the game times and channels for professional teams in the region:
4:00 p.m. – Vegas Golden Knights at Washington Capitals – ESPN+
5:30 p.m. – Los Angeles Kings at Dallas Stars – Bally Sports West
7:30 p.m. – Anaheim Ducks at San Jose Sharks – ESPN
10. The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune
On Monday’s show, Alysha Del Valle was in studio and the crew talked about the Chargers and Rams with The Sporting Tribune’s Fernando Ramirez.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show presented by The Sporting Tribune on The Mightier 1090 ESPN Radio in Southern California, 98.5 The Fan in Las Vegas and the Hawaii Sports Radio Network 95.1 FM and 760 AM in Hawaii. You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
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That’s it for today. Talk to you all tomorrow!