While there may be some hesitation, we explore three reasons why the Russell Westbrook experiment will work for the LA Clippers.
We now have a bit more clarity on the future of one of the most polarizing stars in the league in former league MVP Russell Westbrook. After being moved at the trade deadline from the Los Angeles Lakers to the rebuilding Utah Jazz, speculation began immediately about Westbrook entering the buyout market.
There have been a lot of stops and starts since then, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is now reporting that once Westbrook secures his buyout from the Jazz that he will be signing with the LA Clippers.
The LA Clippers have completely revamped their backcourt since the NBA Trade Deadline
This comes as the latest move by the Clippers to remodel their roster as they try to make a move in the West (where they currently sit 4th at 33-28). At the trade deadline, the Clippers traded away John Wall, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard while acquiring Bones Hyland, Eric Gordon, and Mason Plumlee.
Shortly after the deadline and with the presumed buyout of Westbrook, the Clippers were one of the favorites to land him almost immediately. Some Clipper players were even making their pitches to Westbrook, but it at least now appears to be coming to fruition.
Westbrook moved into the 6th man role for the first time in his career this year with the Lakers, where he has averaged 15.9 points, 7.5 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game in 28.7 minutes per. However, this season has just felt tumultuous from the start for Westbrook and the Lakers.
While the counting numbers have been solid, inefficiency (41.7% FG% and 29.6% 3P%) and turnovers (3.5 Turnovers per game) have clouded his effectiveness. While some people have felt that the Lakers scapegoated Westbrook, it just always felt doomed from the start (with sides shouldering some blame in my opinion).
However, Westbrook will now get a chance at a fresh start with the Clippers (while getting to stay in LA). While he isn’t the player he was in his MVP season in 2017 where he averaged a triple-double, Westbrook can still bring a lot to the table.
While I think expectations need to be tempered, Westbrook can help make a difference for LAC in a crowded and loaded Western Conference. I believe that there are three major things that Westbrook will bring to the Clippers: