The Los Angeles Clippers acquired former MVP Russell Westbrook after he was bought out by the Utah Jazz, and it looks like the move has had the opposite effect of what the Clippers surely intended.
One anonymous NBA executive recently stated that the Clippers are now much less intimidating as an opponent with Westbrook on the roster.
“Actually, I fear them much less now,” said the exec, according to John Hollinger of The Athletic.
Though Westbrook once had the reputation of being one of the most dangerous stars in the league, he has since lost that. What has replaced it has been a reputation of a player who fails to show up in big moments and often impacts his team negatively in the most important moments.
Some of that is fairly earned, but not all of it is.
Prior to joining the Clippers, Westbrook was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. The fit on that roster never seemed like a good one. Still, Westbrook tried to make it work and even accepted a role as a backup on the team.
Despite that, Westbrook was scapegoated by much of the fan base and NBA pundits.
Still, the success — or lack thereof — that the Clippers have had since adding Westbrook cannot be denied. The Clippers are 0-3 in their first three games with the nine-time All-Star on the roster.
In those games, Westbrook has averaged 16.0 points, 9.3 assists, 5.7 boards and 2.3 steals per game. He’s shot the ball really well, hitting 52.9 percent of his field goals and 44.4 percent of his 3-pointers.
Still, the losses are what people are going to talk about most. That is especially true because every win matters in the heavily congested Western Conference.
Right now, the Clippers lay claim to the No. 6 seed in the West, but they are just a half-game in front of the Dallas Mavericks. If the Clippers fall further in the standings, they will be on pace to have to advance through the play-in tournament to get to the playoffs.
Obviously, that is not what they want to go through. Coming up, the Clippers have some tough games to round out the week.
They’ll face the Golden State Warriors on Thursday before visiting the Sacramento Kings on Friday. Their final game of the week will come on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.