Tyronn Lue wants to put the ball in Russell Westbrook’s hands more for Clippers

Robert Marvi
2 Min Read
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When the Los Angeles Clippers traded for veteran star guard James Harden a few weeks ago, some expected them to become a legitimate championship contender. But they have struggled ever since the deal was made.

Russell Westbrook was recently moved to the bench, yet head coach Tyronn Lue wants him to have the ball more often when he is in the game.

Westbrook came to the Clippers late last season after a frustrating stint with the Los Angeles Lakers. His shooting percentages, which have always been relatively low, especially from the perimeter, instantly perked up, but they have fallen back to Earth this season.

While with the Lakers, he was also moved to the bench early last season. To his credit, Westbrook, who has been portrayed by many fans as a prickly figure, has handled both reassignments like a professional.

By coming to the Clippers, Harden has been reunited with Westbrook, his former teammate while on the Oklahoma City Thunder in the early 2010s. Both grew up in the Los Angeles area, and the trade has given the team tremendous firepower, at least on paper.

But it hasn’t translated into results. Los Angeles ranks just 17th in points per game and 18th in offensive rating so far this season. Some have been skeptical of the fit among Harden, Westbrook, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard given the fact that all of them tend to be ball-dominant players and none of them are particularly effective off the ball.

It was expected that Westbrook’s addition would turn the Clippers into a potent fast-breaking team, but they rank just 15th in fast-break points per game and 21st in pace.

They will host the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday evening, which will present them with a challenge. Dallas is 10-5 to start the season and is among the NBA’s leaders in scoring, and superstar Luka Doncic often seems to go off against them.

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Robert is a native of Santa Monica, Calif. and a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has been an avid NBA and NFL fan since he was a little kid in the mid-'90s, and he has always loved soaking up knowledge about both leagues and their respective histories. He feels strongly that sports aren't just entertainment, but also a means for learning life lessons.