Is Russell Westbrook to the Clippers a Good Idea?

Is Russell Westbrook to the Clippers a Good Idea?

The trade deadline is in the rearview mirror, and Russell Westbrook’s much-maligned tenure in Los Angeles is over. The Lakers traded him to Utah in a three-team deal, and he is expected to be bought out of his contract. A popular team rumored for Westbrook has coincidentally been the in-town rival, the Clippers.

Russell Westbrook in Review

The Lakers traded for Westbrook in 2021 to team him up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, this did not go as planned, with a 33-49 record in 2022 and went 20-25 before the trade.

Westbrook had taken on a new role this season as a sixth man on 29 minutes a game, the lowest in his career. Per 36 minutes, he is averaging 20/7.8/9.4 per game, however, the caveat comes with his efficiency. Westbrook has been criticized for years due to his efficiency issues throughout his career. This year, his true shooting percentage is at 49.6%, his lowest since the 2009-10 season and the fourth lowest among qualified players. His offensive rating has also been lower during his two years in Los Angeles, only posting a 101 rating compared to a career average of 108.

Off the court, there was a comment from ESPN’s Dave McMenamin where an unnamed source likened Westbrook to a vampire. A report that caught the attention of Westbrook’s wife, Nina, who blasted the report as “sick.”

Homecoming: Part 2?

The Clippers have been one of the teams that have been linked to Russell Westbrook on the buyout market. Shams Charania of the Athletic reported that the team has received permission to contact Westbrook and talks have begun. In addition, players such as Paul George (a former teammate of his in Oklahoma City) have campaigned for the front office to sign the former MVP.

The Clippers have lacked a main facilitator ever since Chris Paul was traded in 2017. This season, they took a flyer on another former All-Star guard in John Wall. However, the experiment only last 34 games before Wall was traded away. The team employs a “playmaking by committee” system of players with ballhandling and/or passing ability. However, the result this year has yielded a 26th-place ranking in assists. The offense has struggled with scoring- the Clippers are currently 27th in points per game and 20th in offensive rating. It makes sense for the Clippers to be in the market for a point guard.

Is it a Good Fit?

The Clippers have issues on offense that Westbrook can provide a remedy for. The Clippers are in the bottom five in the NBA in pace, ranking 24th at 98.2. In contrast, Westbrook’s pace rating of 105.6 would be the second highest on the team, only behind Bones Hyland, who only played one game so far with the team. He also provides the Clippers with a passer they have not had since Chris Paul left the team.

Defensively, Westbrook has not been the same as in past years (113 rating this season). However, the Clippers have been one of the better teams in the league defensively, ranking 10th in the metric. In theory, there is enough talent to make up for Westbrook’s deficiencies, but it is a mystery with Russell Westbrook.

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