Why Did Paul Westhead Drop Spencer Haywood? Let’s find out. Paul William Westhead (born February 21, 1939) is a former basketball coach in the United States. He coached in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), American Basketball Association (ABA), and Japan Basketball League, as well as being the head coach of three NBA teams and an assistant coach for four more (JBL). He led a rookie Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers to the 1980 NBA Finals, which they won in six games for the team’s first title in eight years. Westhead won championships in both the NBA and the WNBA, and he is most known for coaching the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) men’s basketball team during the school’s heyday. Westhead is recognised for his unorthodox “The System” run-and-gun approach. He was dubbed “The Professor” because of his previous work as an English teacher and his proclivity for quoting Shakespeare and other literary sources while coaching. Saint Joseph’s University was his alma mater.
— Payman Benz (@PaymanBenz) April 17, 2022
‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty‘ follows the Los Angeles Lakers, a basketball club vying for NBA championships. The show follows Jerry Buss, the new owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, as he attempts to lead the team to success both on and off the court. After a horrific tragedy involving trailblazing Head Coach Jack McKinney, Buss appoints Paul Westhead as the Lakers’ interim coach.
Westhead, on the other hand, makes the surprising decision to bench Spencer Haywood, one of his most experienced players. Viewers are understandably curious as to why Westhead abandons Haywood and whether the scenario is based on fact. Here’s everything you need to know about the reasons for Westhead’s choice and his real-life relationship with Haywood!
Recommended: Who is Spencer Haywood? When did he join the Lakers?
Why was Spencer Haywood dropped by Paul Westhead?
After Paul Westhead is named Head Coach, he overhears a conversation between Spencer Haywood and Michael Cooper in episode 6 of ‘Winning Time.’ During the conversation, Haywood makes fun of Westhead and his entire demeanour, which irritates him. Westhead sits Haywood on the bench in his first game as the LA Lakers’ head coach.
When Haywood enquires about the decision, Westhead claims that it is part of his overall strategy. Westhead continues to give Haywood the cold shoulder in the eighth episode, benching the veteran power forward for multiple games.
Although Haywood is past his prime, he is still regarded as a valued asset, and Westhead’s choice to bench him calls into question his coaching ability. However, it does not appear that Westhead dropped Haywood from the lineup because of a personal vendetta. Instead, according to Jeff Pearlman’s book “Showtime,” which serves as the major source material for the television series, Haywood was fired because of his bad performances.
Haywood insisted to his colleagues that Westhead despised him after he was pulled off after only four minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks in November 1979. The book also indicates that Haywood’s cocaine use was to blame for his poor basketball play, which led to Westhead’s decision to cut him.
In Real Life, were Paul Westhead and Spencer Haywood friends?
The time Paul Westhead and Spencer Haywood spent as coaches and players with the Los Angeles Lakers was stormy. Because of Westhead’s treatment of Haywood, their working relationship deteriorated. As a result, it’s difficult to believe the two enjoyed a strong off-court relationship. Westhead notoriously punished Haywood during the 1980 NBA Finals for stepping during a practise session before Game 3.
Years later, Haywood admitted to wanting to hurt Westhead, but added that “he never actually attempted to hurt Westhead, but it was an awful desire.” Haywood later claimed that the Lakers were only attempting to assist him through that time in his life by suspending him.
As a result of Haywood’s strong reaction, it’s safe to presume that he and Westhead were not friends. Haywood only stayed with the Lakers for one season before joining Reyer Venezia in Italy. In his first season as head coach, Westhead, on the other side, guided the Lakers to the NBA Championship. He was sacked, though, at the opening of his third season. Haywood and Westhead were crucial pillars in the framework that led to the Lakers’ “Showtime” era, despite their disagreements.