Despite his superstar ability, the LA Clippers should avoid trading for Russell Westbrook at all costs.
When I first heard of the rumored trade of Paul George to the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook, I was scratching my head as to why on earth would the Clippers make that trade? Are the Clippers in desperation mode after getting bounced in the 2nd round of the recently completed NBA playoffs? Trading for Westbrook in my opinion would be a disaster.
Let’s dissect this trade at a high level to try and determine why the Clippers brass is entertaining this deal.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Westbrook can at times look like he’s one of the top five players in the NBA. His athleticism is in the top echelon of NBA athletes; he competes at a level that many players can’t reach, and when he’s on his game, he can score points in bunches while also being an above-average defender.
Paul George on the other hand, may not have the physical tools that Westbrook has, but he definitely isn’t chopped liver on the court. George reminds me of Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat. The players are similar in stature and they can take over games in spurts. Doesn’t that sound just like Russell Westbrook?
My fear with acquiring Westbrook extends further than the basketball court itself. Team chemistry is where I think this acquisition would fail miserably for the Clippers.
When Westbrook was acquired by the Rockets to team up with James Harden, my first thought was how would these two stars mesh on the court, when both players crave the basketball in their hands as much as possible. We all know that Harden fits the playground definition of a ball-hog, and Westbrook is not that far behind him in that description. This is probably why the Rockets are willing to part ways with Westbrook.
On the other hand, Paul George is the perfect complement for Kawhi Leonard. George doesn’t have the enormous ego that Westbrook has, and if he were to get traded to Houston, it would be a place where he would pad his stats, but will never sniff a championship. Westbrook on the other hand, would come to the Clippers and would not want to take a back seat to Leonard or anyone else on the team. Team chemistry was a question mark for the Clippers during this past season, but it wasn’t nearly has profound as it will be if Westbrook joins the team.
My thoughts are that the Clippers should leave that tandem of Leonard and George together, and address the other needs that the team currently has. Chemistry plays a huge role in sports, especially in the NBA where everyone thinks they’re a star! So to the Clippers brass – I’ll take a pass on the ego driven Westbrook and improve the team in other areas.