Last night the Russell Westbrook made his return back to Oklahoma City. While he actually played well, the return to OKC didn’t go as planned. Chris Paul took over the game and the Thunder rolled 113-92. I didn’t realize this initially, but now there can only be one takeaway from the Westbrook, CP3 trade. The Houston Rockets got ROBBED! Not only was this trade an act of desperation by Houston but they also got taken to the cleaners.
Let’s get one thing straight right now. Chris Paul is significantly better than Russell Westbrook. That’s always been the case but the gap is much bigger than I initially anticipated. Chris Paul is beating Westbrook is pretty much everything.
CP3: PER (21.0), eFG% (53.9), Win Share (4.9), Turnovers (2.1) Steals (1.6)
Westbrook: PER (18.3), eFG% (45.7), Win Share (1.7), Turnovers (4.4), Steals (1.5)
The only thing Westbrook has the edge in is assists and rebounding. However, Westbrook has a usage rate of 33.9 and Paul has a usage rate of 23.3. They are averaging virtually the same number of assists and Westbrook is handling the ball at a significantly higher level. That also speaks volumes to how Paul has managed to have high win share total despite having the ball less. We all know Westbrook gooses his rebound number but I’m proud of him for not averaging a triple double this year.
There’s no way around it. Chris Paul is better than Russell Westbrook. Not only did OKC get the better player, but they got a stupid haul of draft picks. Those picks only look juicier by the day given the success the Thunder are having this season.
Pick protections in Thunder/Rockets, Russell Westbrook/Chris Paul trade:
2024 first round pick, protected 1-4
2026 first round pick, protected 1-4
2025 swap, 1-20 protected
2021 swap, protected 1-4 — OKC can swap Clippers pick or Heat pick.
The Rockets could really suck by that point. James Harden is already 30. Russell Westbrook is already declining. Houston doesn’t have any young promising building blocks either. We’re looking at a potential haul of two really good picks. Not to mention the fact that OKC has the option to swap. Given the future draft capital they have and the level they’re playing at right now, you have to think OKC will remain at least competitive.
There’s a good chance Houston is forking over 4 first round picks to the Thunder and meanwhile got a worse version of Chris Paul back in return. This is insanity. The fact that CP3 is playing so well makes this trade so horrendous for Houston. The Westbrook, CP3 trade is already a major L for Houston and it’s going to get way worse soon.