Russell Westbrook‘s debut for the LA Clippers may have been far from smooth sailing, but he showed many strengths and his ability to compete against any player on the court. That said, the double overtime loss to Sacramento proved why he will find no problems in fitting in with the rest of the roster.
Following the signing, many fans began to question the rotations that would surround Westbrook on the court. However, head coach Tyronn Lue announced the former MVP in the starting lineup next to the superstar talents of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. This was a game changing decision as Westbrook’s playmaking allowed Leonard and George to find easy buckets.
Furthermore, once the momentum of the game picked up, it was clear Westbrook’s mindset was focused on setting his teammates up for success. He was unselfish with the ball, and this allowed him to notch 14 of the Clippers’ 39 total assists.
Moreover, Westbrook wasn’t required to score the ball as Leonard carried the scoring the team with 44 points on 16-of-22 shooting. George was not far behind with 30 points on five made three-pointers. Though the LA Clippers lost, it’s evident that inserting Westbrook into the rotations helped the entire team in a variety of ways.
Russell Westbrook holds the key to the LA Clippers.
The strategy to drive and kick the ball out on the perimeter is perfect for Russell Westbrook and the LA Clippers. Their contest with the Kings displayed just that as Westbrook had a game-high in assists and the Clippers shot nearly 60% from the three-point line.
During Westbrook’s stint with the Lakers, it was imperative for him to add to the scoring total as they constantly struggled to find multiple sources of offense. With the LA Clippers, the scoring pressure is relieved from his shoulders as Lue has a many different rotations and a ridiculous amount of depth.
Nonetheless, Westbrook struggled significantly to score the ball with the Lakers. This essentially took a toll on his image as a player, forcing teams to question what he has to offer at this stage in his career. Now that he is on a minimum contract, the front office can experiment with his abilities to see what works. This also leaves Westbrook with a free style of play, leaving him with the green light to star in his role for LA.
While Westbrook may not have as much pressure with the Clippers, he is still on thin ice as he will become a free agent this offseason. This is a golden opportunity to resurrect his value into the market, working his way up to a larger contract. Additionally, if he exceeds expectations, there is a possibility that the Clippers’ will bring him back for years to come.