The Russell Westbrook Trade Has Continued To Pay Dividends In Losses
Russell Westbrook is on his fourth team in four years. After continued first-round exits in Oklahoma City, the Houston Rockets completed a blockbuster. They acquired Westbrook in exchange for Chris Paul and significant draft compensation. Fast-forward 365 days, the Rockets were knocked out in the second round of the Bubble. Chemistry issues with Harden and Westbrook were fuming. Management ended up picking Harden’s side, shipping the 2017 MVP out to Washington in exchange for John Wall and a first-round pick.
In DC, Westbrook was actually not bad. He took a lottery swimming Wizards team through the play-in tournament. While their fate was sealed in the first round, Westbrook still showed his consistency. However, any value Westbrook once had has completely evaporated. LeBron James got it completely wrong here. He thought the star power of a healthy Anthony Davis and Westbrook would mask over any spacing issues. However, the opposite happened. Davis cannot stay healthy and Westbrook is a shell of himself. For these reasons and more that trade could go down as one of the worst in NBA history.
In case you’re wondering, Vendetta Boss Trey Daubert did not ask me to write this. I’ve been watching the Lakers with my own two eyes this season and came to these conclusions. There are also statistics to back this up. He’s averaging his fewest PPG since his second year in the league. He’s also averaging the fewest rebounds per game since his MVP season. It’s also the third season in four that he’s shooting under 70% from the free-throw line. The only positive that could be thrown his way is durability. With LeBron and AD frequently missing his games, Westbrook has played in 57 of the Lakers’ 58 games this season. However, it’s worth noting that he rarely does much good in the games he plays in.
Terrible Asset Management
From what you see on the court, this trade is a disaster. However, considering what the Lakers gave up for him makes it even worse. Kyle Kuzma, KCP, Montrezl Harrell, and a first-round pick is pretty hefty return. Especially since a change of scenery is exactly what Kuzma needed. The former Laker is averaging 16.3 points per game on 45% shooting, the highest since his second season in the league. KCP is a 3 and D player every team in the league would love. The Wizards managed to get even more assets out of this deal by sending Montrezl Harrell to Charlotte for Ish Smith and Vernon Carey Jr. Meanwhile the Lakers are floundering with a 27-31 record, fighting for play-in game positioning.
It’s worth noting that Westbrook wasn’t the only “star” at the Lakers’ disposal. They had both big names and role players available who would’ve done far better than Westbrook. There were conflicting reports on draft night that it was Buddy Hield the Lakers went after. In hindsight, that would have been a quite successful trade. Hield is a marksman and a guy who could simply make shots in a variety of ways.
However, that is not the worst of it. Bulls MVP candidate DeMar DeRozan was convinced in the summer that a move to LA was a done deal. However, the Lakers declined to pursue the hometown guy. Instead, he is leading a resurgence in Chicago as the Bulls are one of the East’s best teams. Both Hield and DeRozan are walking buckets. DeMar can do it in iso while Hield does not need the ball in his hands for long to be effective. Long story short, the Lakers had a host of options that would have been so much better than Westbrook. Instead, they must live with the good, bad, and ugly of Brodie.
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