In a move that was meant to bolster the roster, the Los Angeles Clippers signed Russell Westbrook after he was bought out by the Utah Jazz. Utah acquired Westbrook in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, who gave up a protected future first-round pick to get him off the books.
This is an absolutely hilarious revelation for Lakers fans, who were more than frustrated having to watch Westbrook play on this team for a year and a half. Now, Clippers fans are doing the same mental gymnastics that Lakers fans were doing to convince themselves that Westbrook will work out.
But Lakers fans know the truth about Westbrook as there were some very obvious lesseons that his tenure in the purple and gold should have taught other NBA teams. For one reason or another, the Clippers missed that memo.
1. The Clippers ignored the fact that Russell Westbrook shouldn’t be a starter
The Los Angeles Lakers tried the whole starting Russell Westbrook thing and it didn’t work. In fact, the only time that the Westbrook experience seemed to be going well is when the team stuck him on the bench and didn’t put him in crunch time.
All that being said, the Clippers are still signing Westbrook with the intent of eventually weaving him into the starting lineup. The funniest part about this plan for the Clippers is that they already had a very similar point guard on the roster.
The Clippers fell out of love with that point guard, trading him away for nothing at the deadline. Yet now Westbrook is meant to be a boost?
2. The Clippers ignored the fact that Russell Westbrook and John Wall are one of the same
All of the same problems that the Clippers had when John Wall was on the roster are going to exist with Russell Westbrook. While they are not identical players, they are very similar and present the same issues.
They are both ball-dominant guards who are athletic but can’t shoot and don’t play good defense. They are two guards who still think they are premier players in the sport (Westbrook more so than Wall) and wan’t to play their style of basketball, which does not equate to winning in 2023.
The Lakers taught this lesson to the Clippers last season when they refused to trade Westbrook and a future pick to the Houston Rockets for Wall. Rob Pelinka knew that it would result in the exact same scenario, why aren’t the Clippers? There is a good theory as to why.
3. The Clippers ignored that if the Lakers couldn’t change Russell Westbrook, nobody will be able to.
The reason why the Clippers are likely selling themselves on Westbrook is the idea that they could change Westbrook. That they can put him in an ideal situation where he buys into the messaging and plays a more team-focused style of basketball.
They are not the first team to convince themselves that they could make this change and they won’t be the last. The Lakers certainly thought they were going to be able to change Westbrook and all that caused was dysfunction in the locker room and Frank Vogel getting fired as Westbrook was not happy.
If LeBron James was not going to change Westbrook then I promise you that Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are not going to be able to change Westbrook.