Russell Westbrook is the most fascinating player in all of basketball. His stats are astounding, but when he plays with LeBron James on his team it’s clear that Westbrook can’t do anything to help him win games. The rest of the league is getting more and more tired of this “LeBron-manufactured” superteam because they’re not seeing any improvements for anyone outside of Cleveland.
“Even in a Lakers Win, Russell Westbrook Continues to Look Like LeBron James’ Worst Idea Ever.” The article talks about the game between the Lakers and Thunder, where Russell Westbrook had an amazing night. Read more in detail here: lebron james accomplishments.
The good news for the Los Angeles Lakers is that Anthony Davis and Carmelo Anthony led the charge, and they beat the Charlotte Hornets in overtime on Nov. 8 to stop a two-game losing run. The Lakers need all the good news they can get with LeBron James out with an abdominal injury. Despite the fact that LA improved to 6–5 with the win, Russell Westbrook continues to show the critics wrong regarding his fit with the team.
Westbrook recorded his second triple-double of the season, bringing his NBA career total to 186. However, another in what has becoming a frightening trend of bad performances by the 2016–17 NBA MVP was not overshadowed by the statistical accumulation.
Russell Westbrook continued to shoot badly and turn the ball over often.
Russell Westbrook led the Lakers with 17 points, 14 assists, and 12 rebounds in their victory against the Hornets. He got three thefts as well.
That was the silver lining to the story. On the other hand, if you turn it over, you’ll see a hideous face. It’s not quite quadruple-double ugly, but it’s close.
Westbrook scored 17 points on 15 shots (5-of-15), but he also committed seven turnovers. It’s hard to imagine a nine-time All-NBA point guard in his 14th season leading the league in turnovers, but that’s exactly what we have. Westbrook is averaging 5.1 turnovers per game, which is one of the reasons the Lakers are tied for 14th in the NBA with 17.4 points per game allowed due to turnovers.
The good news is that they score 20.7 points a game in that category, so even if Westbrook continues to dish out the orange at a near-record clip, the Lakers are still a plus-3.3 per game when the good, bad, and ugly are mixed.
On Nov. 8, Charlotte gave the Lakers a lot of favors. The Hornets scored six points off of 15 turnovers by the Lakers, while the Lake Show scored 33 points off of Charlotte’s 18 giveaways. Welcome to the 2021–22 Lakers, when having to go to OT in a game where you are plus-27 in points off turnovers looks absurd.
By all means, this isn’t the first time Westbrook has racked up turnovers. However, the frequency with which they occur raises multiple red flags.
Westbrook has never been a ball defender.
When Russell Westbrook has been terrific, he has also been horrible. He averaged 5.4 turnovers per game during his MVP season. His 438 points that season were the second-most in NBA history, despite the fact that he didn’t even lead the league. That’s because James Harden, a former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate, coughed up the ball 464 times in the same year.
However, here is where the turnover figure becomes concerning. Westbrook had the greatest usage rate in the NBA in 2016–17, at 41.7 percent. 15.9% of his possessions ended with the ball being taken away by the defense.
Westbrook has a usage rate of 29.4 percent this season. Since his second season in 2009–10, this is the lowest rate he’s had. His turnover percentage, on the other hand, is a career-high 20.3 percent.
At best, your point guard is handing the ball away around once per five possessions.
In 35.6 minutes per game, Westbrook averages 18.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.5 steals. On a nightly basis, he’s shooting 41.1 percent overall and 25.6 percent on 3.9 3-point tries. That isn’t very good, even by Westbrook’s standards. He’s a lifetime 30.5 percent long-range shooter.
Worse, the 33-year-old is making just 45.5 percent of his 2-point attempts, which is his lowest percentage since 2010-11. And his free-throw percentage is at a career low of 64.2 percent, extending a declining trend that started in 2017–18. In his first nine seasons, Westbrook shot over 80% from the line eight times. He’s only made 70.2 percent since then. It moved from transient yips to the new normal somewhere along the road.
LeBron James has his heart set on Russell Westbrook.
In the Lakers’ overtime triumph over the Charlotte Hornets, Russell Westbrook had another free basketball giveaway night. | Harry How/Getty Images
It’s no secret that LeBron James has as much impact as any NBA player on his team’s personnel selections. During the summer, Anthony said that it was James, not vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka, who lured him to the Lakers.
Buddy Hield, a sharpshooting winger, was supposedly on his way to Los Angeles, according to Pelinka. That transaction disappeared in the flash of an eye, and two of the components apparently headed to Sacramento — Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell — were instead traded to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Russell Westbrook. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a premier perimeter defender, was also traded away.
James will celebrate his 37th birthday in late December. He feels more at ease with players from his generation, which might explain why he chose Westbrook over Hield, who will be 29 this year.
The Lakers, on the other hand, aren’t just seasoned; they’re ancient, as in on track to become the NBA’s oldest team, with an average age of 32.3. The only other teams in the playoffs with an average age of 32 or higher were eliminated in the first round.
Last year, in order to make the bracket, LA had to compete in a play-in tournament. That’s another another alarming indicator.
Russell Westbrook is one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He was named to the NBA’s 75th anniversary squad. On the floor, though, his fit with the Lakers isn’t looking much better than it did on paper. Whatever the Lakers accomplish this season, it appears to be in spite of Westbrook rather than because of him.
Basketball Reference, Stathead, and NBA.com provided the statistics.
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