The Los Angeles Lakers have just acquired former all-star Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards in exchange for Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and the 22nd pick in the draft. With that being said let’s go over both the good and the bad (but mostly the bad) about Westbrook.
The Russell Westbrook Trade is a bad move
Let’s start with the reasons this trade does make sense and why Brodie is in the discussion to join Los Angeles in the first place. The Lakers struggled to have any semblance of an offense while superstar forward LeBron James was off of the court. As long as you make sure one of Westbrook or James are on the court at all times, the Lakers offense should stay steady. Obviously, it will be better with James but Westbrook’s ability to steer the ship is far superior to former Lakers point guards.
Westbrook is one of the best playmakers in the league, which is something the Lakers have lacked. With the departure of Rajon Rondo, the Lakers had only James to rely on, so now there will be someone else who can create shots for himself and others. Westbrook is one of the better scorers in the league. Having someone who is a threat to get to the rim every time he comes down the floor, should help the Lakers offense some.
For starters, the Lakers’ biggest weakness last season (and seemingly, every season) is shooting. Specifically three point shooting. They were 21st in three-point percentage and 25th in makes last season. Westbrook is probably the worst high volume shooter in the history of basketball. Last season he shot just under 32 percent from deep. For reference, Dennis Schroder, last year’s starter, shot almost 34 percent. If you thought the spacing was bad then just wait for Westbrook.
— K.C. (@Not___KC) July 29, 2021
Two years ago when Westbrook played against the Lakers in the playoffs, their defensive strategy was to leave him WIDE OPEN every play. Houston had shooters all over the court to help mitigate Westbrook’s shooting issues and it was still a disaster. Now he is going to play with James and Anthony Davis, two elite players whose biggest weaknesses are shooting the basketball. Does this really make any sense?
Another issue with Westbrook is his ball security. Westbrook has averaged at least four turnovers per game in seven consecutive seasons. Nobody has done that more than 5 times and only James Harden has done that more than three times. Westbrook is also an objectively terrible defensive player despite what his reputation claims. The only time he puts the effort on defense is to chase steals or rebounds.
One of Westbrook’s biggest strength’s is scoring but even that has it’s flaws with Russ. Because he cant shoot well, he has to occupy the same space as Davis and James but Westbrook is not as efficient. Out of all 34 players to average at least 20 points per game over the past four seasons, Westbrook is 33rd in true shooting percentage. In short, that’s awful.
Westbrook trade Grade
The Wizards are gonna get a C for this trade. They traded their starting point guard for a bunch of role players who don’t quite fit the team they have and a lower end first round pick. Could it have been worse? Sure. Could it have been better? Yes. So a C feels like a fair grade
The Lakers get a Z. That’s right a Z. It’s so bad it doesn’t even warrant a real letter grade. This Westbrook trade is awful on all levels and the Lakers have closed virtually any championship window they still had.
Main photo: Embed from Getty Images