The Los Angeles Clippers’ Russell Westbrook experiment is off to a disastrous begin. The Clippers fell to 0-4 since signing Westbrook within the buyout market after a blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night time on TNT. With out Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins within the lineup, the Warriors devised a game-plan to fully ignore Westbrook when the Clippers had the ball, muck up LA’s spacing, and get their offense out of sync. It labored to perfection, and it got here with some ugly clips for Westbrook’s sake.
The Warriors determined earlier than the sport that they’d have Draymond “guard” Westbrook. We’re placing ‘guard’ in quotes there as a result of Inexperienced wasn’t actually defending anybody: he gave Westbrook not less than 15-feet of area when he was on the perimeter, and dared the veteran level guard to beat him his leap shot. Westbrook shot 3-for-12 from the sector and 0-for-5 from three-point vary on the night time.
This clip instantly went viral in the course of the Warriors’ 115-91 win over the Clippers. Have a look at how a lot area Inexperienced selected to offer Westbrook on this play.
Westbrook didn’t attempt to shoot typically regardless of being left vast open. Right here’s a clip from late within the fourth quarter when the Clippers had an opportunity to make one final run to maintain the sport aggressive. Westbrook was unguarded as he introduced the ball up the courtroom, and selected to attempt to make an entry move to Paul George within the submit.
There have been two issues: the additional our bodies within the paint from the sagging protection made the move more difficult, and Westbrook missed the mark. This was one among his 4 turnovers on the night time. Then he misplaced monitor of Jordan Poole defensive on the subsequent play for a back-breaking three-pointer on the following possession.
When Westbrook did shoot, he was bricking every part. Right here’s a clip from the fourth quarter when Westbrook was given two vast open nook threes, each of which he missed.
Westbrook did end with six assists on the night time. Right here’s one good entry move to George for a bucket. General, although, this was his worst sport as a Clipper.
Draymond Inexperienced talked concerning the Warriors plan to disregard Westbrook on offense after the sport.
Inexperienced confirmed respect for Westbrook in his feedback whereas additionally detailing precisely why this was an efficient game-plan: basketball gamers are taught to shoot once they’re open, however whenever you’re left open each play, it begins to get in your head.
It could be unfair to solely pin all the Clippers’ issues on Westbrook. Paul George completed 3-of-15 from the sector and 1-of-8 from three-point vary within the loss. Eric Gordon shot 2-of-10 from three. Norman Powell shot 0-of-7 from three. Westbrook might have had much more than six assists if the Clippers’ shooters had been making something.
On the similar time, it’s changing into apparent Westbrook shouldn’t be a useful participant except he’s surrounded by a ton of taking pictures. Westbrook has now misplaced his final 14 video games as a starter between his time with the Lakers and Clippers.
The Lakers are 5-3 since Westbrook was traded regardless of not having LeBron James and Anthony Davis for a few of these video games. The Clippers are nonetheless looking for their first win of the Westbrook period.
Westbrook is now taking pictures 29.5 p.c from three and 67 p.c from the free throw line this season throughout his time with each Los Angeles groups. It’s merely very tough to suit a job participant right into a group scheme if they’ll’t shoot in any respect within the fashionable NBA. There’s a protracted historical past of athletic NBA level guards bettering their jumper as they become older and lose their explosiveness. Sadly, Westbrook solely appears to maintain getting worse as a shooter.
The Clippers are actually just one sport over .500. They signed Westbrook as a result of Paul George pushed them to do it. Keep in mind, the Lakers traded for Westbrook as a result of LeBron James pushed them to do it. The Clippers are in championship-or-bust mode this season in Yr 4 of the Kawhi Leonard-George pairing. Proper now, this doesn’t seem like a championship group, and the transfer to signal Westbrook doesn’t look like serving to them.