The LA Clippers have been struggling mightily since the acquisition of James Harden. However, with one decision, Russell Westbrook might’ve saved the season.
In a vacuum, it’s impossible to view the acquisition of James Harden as taking a step back for the LA Clippers. However, through the first few games of the Harden experiment, that’s exactly what it looked like for the Clippers. In five games played with Harden in uniform, the Clippers were 0-5. They struggled to fit together and it was far from a seamless transition.
It’s been so bad that there were outside calls for a change in the starting 5. Whether it would end up working out or not, that’s how much the Clippers were struggling. That, at the very least, was worth the gamble.
However, putting yourself in head coach Ty Lue’s position, and asking one of the veteran All-Stars to make a move to a bench role would be a tall task. It was the type of conversation that could end up dividing the locker room.
Thankfully, Russell Westbrook took that decision out of Lue’s hands. Being the leader that he’s been throughout his career, Westbrook reportedly requested that he come off the bench in an attempt to balance out the starting 5.
The hope is that this is the spark the Clippers need to right the ship on what has become a dangerously disappointing start to the season.
Why Russell Westbrook might’ve saved the season for the LA Clippers
The Clippers are just 3-7 on the season but the hope is that moving Westbrook to the bench could unlock something for the team. It’s no guarantee, but a change to the starting 5 was something that was clearly needed.
Westbrook was the natural candidate and made the decision easier than it was probably going to be for Lue and the coaching staff.
Again, it’s not a guarantee that this simple move solves all the Clippers’ issues but it could be one of those situations where it begins to shift things in the right direction. And you have to give Westbrook credit.
For a player who has been labeled as selfish during the latter portion of his career, this is the ultimate team move. There’s no questioning Westbrook’s leadership or ego after this type of decision.
You can see how much Westbrook wants to win and be a part of something special by making such a request. By sacrificing minutes and probably production, Westbrook might’ve just saved the Clippers season.