Title: Westbrook’s Role Diminishes as Clippers Prioritize Harden
In what was initially a promising start to the season for Russell Westbrook as the starting point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers, his performance has taken a hit following the arrival of James Harden. The Clippers, with Westbrook at the helm, had a 3-2 record and were plus-64 in minutes played during his time on the court.
However, Westbrook’s numbers declined after the trade. His field goal percentage dropped by approximately 10 percentage points, and his scoring, rebounding, and assisting stats all took a hit. The Clippers struggled when Westbrook and Harden shared the court, losing all five games they started together.
As a result, Westbrook was moved back to the bench role, and surprisingly, the team showed improvement. The Clippers won their first three games with Westbrook coming off the bench, indicating a better fit for the team. Unfortunately for Westbrook, his playing time has been significantly reduced since Harden’s arrival, leading to frustration on his part.
In a recent game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Westbrook played just 14 minutes, scoring a measly three points on 1-of-8 shooting – one of the lowest figures of his career. It is clear that Westbrook’s success stems from having the ball in his hands frequently, a luxury he no longer enjoys with the Clippers.
The decision to trade for Harden strongly suggests that the Clippers do not see Westbrook as an integral part of their plans. Their history playing together in Houston only confirmed the difficulties they had coexisting. Westbrook has shown dissatisfaction with his new role and has gone silent in his interactions with the media.
If the Clippers do not intend to bench Harden to accommodate Westbrook, it appears unlikely that he will have a significant role with any contenders if he gets waived or traded. Westbrook may find a new team that values his ability to produce impressive statistics, even if winning is not the primary focus.
As each game passes, it becomes increasingly apparent that Westbrook’s on-ball talent is of diminishing importance to the Clippers. The team has committed to transforming into a “Harden team,” leaving little room for Westbrook’s fit within the roster. It remains to be seen how Westbrook’s situation will unfold, but the prospects for him in Los Angeles seem gloomy.
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