Russell Westbrook went from ‘washed’ to possibly saving the Clippers season

Let’s rewind to the beginning of the 2022-23 NBA season. The Los Angeles Lakers are off to a horrible start at 2-10. A team that has LeBron James and Anthony Davis, you would think they would get most of the blame. Well, that wasn’t the case. The responsibility, for the most part, went to their point guard at the time Russell Westbrook.

There were questions on whether Westbrook should go to the bench, play in crunch time, and some were advocating for him to be cut and for the Lakers to move on.

This was not an isolated opinion, as story after story was published about Westbrook being the most significant issue, and some even said this.

Don’t get me wrong, this version of Westbrook isn’t the OKC Westbrook or even the Washington Wizards version but the daily comments from the national media to fans about Westbrook being the main reason for the Lakers issue is and was an incorrect assumption as we have seen by the fact that the Lakers are still hovering around .500.

Since his peak MVP season in 2017 and his only season with the Wizards, Westbrook has been on the decline. In 2020-21 Westbrook averaged 22.2 and 11.7 assists and helped the Wizards make the playoffs. Westbrook would then take his talents to the Lakers, and in 2021-22 his points dropped to 18.5 per game which was expected since he was now playing on a team with LeBron and Davis.

The fit, however, never worked, as the Lakers and Westbrook never seem to be on the same page. His number dropped even further this season as he averaged only 15.9 points a game, the lowest he has since his rookie season. The Lakers would go on to trade Westbrook as part of a three-team and eight-player deal to the Utah Jazz, and of course, Westbrook never stepped onto the court for the Jazz.

Westbrook has been and always will be a player who thrives with the ball in his hand. Not as a catch-and-shoot role player who stands in the corner. That is why his eventual signing with the Los Angeles Clippers made so much sense. I wrote about how good of a fit Westbrook was with the Clippers, and it is coming to fruition with the injury to Paul George and the continued will he won’t he play status of Kawhi Leonard.

In last night’s win over the Grizzlies, we witnessed classic Westbrook leading the Clippers to the victory. Westbrook finished the game with a season-high 36 points, 10 assists, and 4 rebounds. Westbrook also set a record in the process.

This is perfect timing as the Clippers are dealing with another Paul George injury and Leonard sitting out games for various reasons. Last night Westbrook took over the game early as he had 22 points at the half and was the best player on the court throughout the night.

It is obvious his Clippers teammates love being on the court with him, as evident by this post-game celebration.

That doesn’t exactly look like a vampire sucking the life out of a locker room. On the contrary, that looks like a possible savior for a franchise that could use one right now.

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