James Harden's has strong comments for Russell Westbrook amid recent struggles

James Harden has a strong message for Russell Westbrook as he continues to struggle in bench role.

Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers
Denver Nuggets v Los Angeles Clippers / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

James Harden's strong comments suggest he still believes in Russell Westbrook amid recent struggles after embracing bench role.

Since the acquisition of James Harden, the LA Clippers have struggled to find their footing. Since the move for Harden, the Clippers are just 5-8. While there may be some encouraging signs of late, there may not be a player that has had to sacrifice more since the acquisition of Harden than Russell Westbrook.

In giving up his starting spot, in hopes that the starting 5 would be able to find a better rhythm without him, Westbrook's game has completely fallen off a cliff. Westbrook looks like a lost player at the moment and one that doesn't have a clear role for the Clippers. Even at this point in his career, it's clear that Westbrook is still trying to figure out how to effectively come off the bench as a difference-maker.

Since making the move to a bench player, Westbrook is averaging just 10 points per game on 39 percent shooting from the field and 21 percent shooting from 3-point range. To put those numbers in context, Westbrook was averaging 14 points on 47 percent shooting from the field and 31 percent shooting from 3-point range before his decision to make the move to the bench.

Nevertheless, Harden still believes in Westbrook. And had some positive recent comments on his struggles in coming off the bench.

"“Just stay with it. It’s a long season. I know it’s probably frustrating for him, just cuz his minutes is fluctuating… We all need somebody to pick us up and tell us it’s gonna be okay.”"

James Harden on Westbrook's struggles

While this is probably the positive attitude Westbrook should have, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about Harden essentially taking this path with these comments.

Westbrook sacrificed everything for Harden. The last thing that Westbrook needs is for Harden to essentially coach him up. Maybe I'm in too deep and overreacting to this completely but Westbrook is a professional and will eventually figure it out, at least you'd hope so.

At the same time, it's far from a guarantee. There are some players whose games don't translate to being an effective bench player. Even though Westbrook has had some success in coming off the bench in the past, it certainly is a different element than being a starter. And Westbrook is clearly struggling with this at the moment.

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The LA Clippers are an interesting experiment to watch over the course of the remainder of the season.