The LA Clippers were undeniably one of the favorites to win it all going into the 2020 NBA Playoffs. However, despite all the hype around them, the franchise lost in the second round. Since their early postseason exit, a plethora of NBA trade rumors have linked the franchise with Russell Westbrook this off-season.
Last season was a topsy turvy one for Russell Westbrook, especially in the context of the Houston Rockets' small-ball experiment. At times, Westbrook flourished in the system, but there were also a few occasions when he looked horribly out of place.
While his playoff performances were abysmal, to say the least, it must be taken into account that the player had just come back after testing positive for COVID-19. For that reason, despite Russell Westbrook making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, several teams, one of them being the LA Clippers, have shown interest in his services this off-season.
On that note, let us analyze why it makes sense for the LA Clippers to acquire Russell Westbrook ahead of next season and why it does not.
NBA Trade Rumors: The case for the LA Clippers acquiring Russell Westbrook
While many believe that Russel Westbrook was largely culpable for the Houston Rockets' postseason meltdown, there is a reason why many franchises are reportedly interested in the player, as per NBA trade rumors.
No player, no matter how good he may be, is expected to hit the ground running after coming back from an injury or illness, something that applies in the case of Russell Westbrook too. Unsurprisingly, in the aftermath of contracting COVID-19, the player was not at his best; unfortunately, for the franchise, they were the worse off for it.
When he is fully fit, Russell Westbrook is a beast on the court. The player averaged a stellar 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and seven assists per game last season. He was so good for the LA Clippers that experts argued that the player might have been showcasing the best version of himself.
The former MVP is also a gifted creator. That, along with the options he would have around him at the LA Clippers, could make Russell Westbrook the perfect point guard for the franchise.
With NBA trade rumors suggesting that Paul George could be headed towards Houston, Westbrook could likely be the second option for the LA Clippers. Despite the conspicuous lack of an outside shot in his arsenal, Westbrook is a far better inside player than George.
Considering the playmaking and inside-scoring prowess of the player, the LA Clippers absolutely need to pursue Russell Westbrook this off-season.
NBA Trade Rumors: The case against the LA Clippers acquiring Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is indeed a worthy player to move for if not for his gargantuan ego as a player.
In other words, Russell Westbrook would never let himself be anything less than the first option on any team. That was apparent at the Houston Rockets last season.
The system the franchise employed could have worked a lot better if they had a definitive first option. Despite James Harden being the more versatile player of the two, Russell Westbrook refused to step down from being the first option. As a result, the team spectacularly imploded in the postseason.
Moreover, Russell Westbrook has a worrying penchant for disappearing in the postseason.
In this regard, while Paul George didn't perform at his best for the LA Clippers last season, it wasn't something that happens every year for him. Simply put, if the LA Clippers are looking for an outstanding postseason player, Russell Westbrook is not the right option.
Considering the same, the Clippers should look to keep George in its roster and avoid bringing in Russell Westbrook before the start of the new season.Published 15 Nov 2020, 19:00 IST