Russell Westbrook will make his debut tonight for the Los Angeles Clippers. The 2017 regular season MVP has had a very busy month that has seen him depart the Los Angeles Lakers for the Utah Jazz only to terminate his contract with the Utah franchise within a few short weeks.
Being a free agent, the Clippers have taken over his services by signing him for the veteran’s minimum salary, which in his case amounts to just over 2.7 million dollars.
While Westbrook is no longer the behemoth he once was The Clippers have sorely lacked a general on the floor since the departure of Chris Paul, with John Wall failing to live up to expectations.
With Westbrook‘s return to Los Angeles, Tyronn Lue‘s team will look to take advantage of his organizational capacity, rebounding, and energy.
The metamorphosis of the Clippers
This season the Clippers have had a severe offensive problem, with the franchise being the third worst offense in the NBA from October to December. This was largely due to the physical irregularity of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but also due in part to their alarmingly static play at half-court.
The team has managed to reverse that dynamic in recent weeks prior to the All-Star, swinging from having one of the worst offenses to becoming one of the top 10 best attacks in the league since the start of 2023. This can be attributed to the logical turn in the relationship between Leonard and George.
However, the Clippers still needed some of help them transition from defense to offense.
Is Westbrook the solution?
“If there’s a point guard available that could be in our top eight or nine players, we’ll go after him,” Lawrence Frank, the Clippers director of operations, said on February 10.
While Westbrook is far from the player he once was, his ability to help his new team in transition could be crucial to their overall success. Westbrook continues to be a good manager of the pick-and-roll, albeit inconsistently.
While inconsistency is a major concern the other is Westbrook‘s volatility off the court, which could pose a huge threat to the Clippers.
The point guard arrived in Los Angeles endorsed by the main figures in the locker room. However, it should also be noted that the trust LeBron James and Anthony Davis placed in him was largely wasted.