Russell Westbrook, who tasted the biggest failure after debuting with his hometown team, the LA Lakers. Now, he takes on a new challenge at the Clippers, based in Los Angeles, along with the Lakers. Can Westbrook, who is aiming for a championship in his 5th jersey, laugh at the Clippers?
*This article was published in the April issue of Rookie.
Born in Long Beach, California in
1988, Russell Westbrook dreamed of becoming an NBA leaguer while admiring LA Lakers legend Magic Johnson. There was an incident that further ignited Westbrook’s passion for basketball, and his best friend, Kelsey Barth, died suddenly of a heart attack at a young age.
Westbrook, who promised to do even the part of a friend who promised to play together at UCLA, was even more determined. He continues to wear a bracelet with ‘KB3’ engraved on it even after entering the NBA later in order not to forget his mind to think of his friend.
As a result, Westbrook wasn’t an NCAA college attention player until his senior year in high school, but his talents blossomed as he entered his senior year. The fact that he grew to 191 cm from 173 cm was also a great strength. His high school senior season averages were 25.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 3.1 steals.
Westbrook entered the UCLA University of his dreams. He didn’t receive many opportunities in his freshman year, but he properly proved his potential in his sophomore season. Westbrook, who has outstanding athletic ability, was evaluated more highly during his college days because of his defense, not offense. Westbrook, who contributed to the team’s run to the NCAA Tournament Semifinals, was also named the best defenseman in the PAC-10 Conference.
Westbrook, who challenged the NBA draft after finishing his sophomore year of college, was nominated by the Seattle Supersonics with the 4th overall pick in the 2008 draft. Seattle named Westbrook and soon after refounded it as the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Westbrook became a member of the Thunder’s first season.
Oklahoma City was a team that drew a blueprint for a bright future, securing many young and talented resources. Starting with Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, who were drafted in 2007, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka were drafted in 2008, and James Harden was drafted a year later. Oklahoma City quickly emerged as a strong team with a self-named Golden Generation.
Westbrook personally gradually expanded his position within the league. Although he missed the Rookie of the Year award in his debut season, he was selected to the Rookie First-Team and contributed to the team’s playoff run the following year. In his third year, after hitting the 20-point average, he was even voted an All-Star for the first time in his life. Believing in his potential, Oklahoma City also gave him a five-year, $80 million contract extension.
Oklahoma City, which has become one of the strongest players in the Western Conference, succeeded in advancing to the conference finals for the first time in the 2010-2011 season, and finally reached the final stage the following season. Although they were blocked by Miami led by LeBron James in the Finals and James Harden left the team, they were still a team with solid power.
But Oklahoma City fell short. The most disappointing season was the 2015-2016 season. The Thunder, who had a break from Durant’s injury the previous season, advanced to the Conference Finals with newly appointed coach Billy Donovan. You will experience painful defeat.
Oklahoma City’s Super Turtle, but…
After the series against Golden State, a big change came to Westbrook. Durant, who had made the team’s one-two punch together, chose a shocking transfer to Golden State out of a desire to win, and Ibaka was traded to Orlando. Along with him, all the players who grew up in Oklahoma City left the team.
Westbrook, who has become the undeniable center of the team, has become more solid. The team’s expectations for him have grown, and in the 2016-2017 season, Westbrook records an overwhelming attack share (USG%) of 41.7%. It is safe to say that this season’s Oklahoma City was Westbrook’s one-man team.
Westbrook, whose weight in the team increased like a snowball, was reborn as a super turtle and spent a season that will go down in history. He averaged 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists in the 2016-2017 season, becoming the first player since Oscar Robertson to achieve an average triple-double in 55 years. Reaching triple-doubles 42 times in a season, he surpassed former teammate Harden to win his first regular season MVP award.
However, it was difficult for Westbrook to elevate the team to a high level in the playoffs alone. In the summer of 2017, Oklahoma City, which suffered a crushing defeat in its first-round series against Houston, made a bold move to bring in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.
However, the Westbrook-George-Anthony trio was disappointing. Carmelo Anthony, whose heyday had passed, did not help the team as much as expected, and Westbrook also struggled at the beginning of the 2017-2018 season, revealing disappointment in terms of efficiency.
Afterwards, Westbrook successfully rebounded and finished the regular season in 4th place in the West, but it was Oklahoma City that was hit by Utah in the first round. In the end, the trio, which was born after a lot of attention, ended up disbanding a year after its formation. Oklahoma City quickly decided to part ways with Anthony, putting more focus on Westbrook and George.
In the 2018-2019 season, George had a career-high season and Westbrook also averaged a triple-double for the third consecutive year. However, this time too, he was upset in the first round. Oklahoma City, which met Portland in the first round, allowed Damian Lillard a series-ending buzzer beater that would go down in NBA history and experienced a first-round elimination for the third year in a row.
When the same failure was repeated, the game was greatly shaken. George, who led the team with Westbrook, requested a trade after one year of an extended contract to unite with Kawhi Leonard, and transferred to the Clippers with a huge future draft nomination left.
As George transferred, the team became further away from winning, and Westbrook’s position also became ambiguous. In the end, Westbrook, who was a symbol of Oklahoma City, was traded for Chris Paul in the summer of 2019 and left the team. Westbrook changed his uniform without winning the championship in Oklahoma City. At this time, it was difficult to predict that going to Houston would be the starting point for frequent transfers.
MVP Became Wandering
*Russell Westbrook’s Trade to Houston*
Houston Get: Russell Westbrook
Oklahoma City Get: Chris Paul, 2 future first round picks, 2 picks swap rights
Like Westbrook, Houston is pretty thirsty for a title. was in a state Houston, which was challenging for the presidency with James Harden and Chris Paul at the center. However, his dream was thwarted when he was blocked by Hampton 5’s Golden State for two consecutive years. In response, Houston threw Paul, who showed signs of aging, and threw a game to bring in Westbrook.
There were positive views on the meeting between Harden and Westbrook, who had strong colors, but there were also concerns. However, coach Mike D’Antoni expressed confidence, saying, “In the end, the two will succeed in coexistence,” and Harden also said, “I know how to play with Westbrook.”
Contrary to their confidence, the Harden and Westbrook duo faltered in the early days of their formation. Westbrook reassured fans before the season, saying, “I can play well when I don’t have the ball in my hands,” but it wasn’t easy. Fatal turnovers also held him back in Houston, and his 3-point success rate (25.8%), which was the lowest in his career, was regrettable.
Fortunately, the concerns did not last long. Midway through the season, Westbrook managed to rebound and led the team well when Harden’s pace fell. Houston, where Westbrook revived, created a new wind in the league based on an innovative small lineup centered on players under 2m. It was D’Antoni’s attempt that could end in a revolution if he succeeds in winning the championship.
However, the attempt to stake Houston’s fate did not end in success. Due to Corona 19, the Orlando Bubble, created to bring clubs together to finish the season, has become a nightmare for Westbrook.
Westbrook, who was not in normal condition due to a femoral injury, had a creak from the first round series against his former team, and had the worst playoffs without surviving. Westbrook, who was one of the pillars of the team, failed to do his part, and Houston lost to the Lakers and ended the season in the second round.
Houston and Westbrook’s partnership ended after one season. After the bubble season ended, Westbrook was unhappy and left for Washington in a trade with John Wall. After Westbrook, Harden and Robert Covington left, Houston entered a new era.
*Russell Westbrook’s trade to Washington*
Washington Get: Russell Westbrook
Houston Get: John Wall, future first-round protection
pick After joining Washington, Westbrook fell into serious slump and faced a lot of criticism. Washington, which had only 3 wins and 12 losses in the first 15 games of the season, faced a crisis as it fell to the bottom of the league. It was a fall with no easy way out.
But a miracle happened. Westbrook, who rose like a tumbleweed, played an all-round performance and regained his MVP form. Bradley Beal, who formed a backcourt duo together, temporarily left due to an injury along the way, but could not stop Westbrook’s run. In the end, Washington, with Westbrook alive, dramatically joined the playoffs after a winning streak.
In this season, Westbrook even set a meaningful record and left a milestone in league history. Against Atlanta on May 11, 2021, Westbrook achieved his 182nd career triple-double, surpassing Oscar Robertson (181) to become the player with the most triple-doubles in league history. He also broke the record for average triple-double that was broken during his time in Houston.
But on the big stage, Westbrook was small again. Westbrook, who met Philadelphia in the first round through the play-in tournament, fell into a slump again and disappointed fans, and Washington ended the season with a series record of 1 win and 4 losses.
A complete failure in his hometown,
Westbrook had a successful start in Washington, although the finish was disappointing. But he didn’t stay long in Washington either. The Lakers are deeply interested in having Westbrook. ‘King’ LeBron James also expressed great interest in Westbrook’s signing, and eventually Westbrook will play in his hometown for the first time since his debut.
*Russell Westbrook trade to Lakers*
Lakers Get: Russell Westbrook, 2024 2nd round pick, 2028 2nd round pick
Washington Get: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavius Caldwell-Pope, 1/2022 The meeting between Westbrook, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis Big 3 in the round 22 pick
drew a lot of attention just by the fact of the formation itself. Although the issue of coexistence between heavy ball handlers Westbrook and LeBron was highlighted, the Lakers have emerged as strong Western Conference contenders.
Westbrook expressed his strong aspirations at the Lakers joining press conference, saying, “I will do anything for the championship.” Unfortunately, Westbrook didn’t even get a chance to try for a championship with the Lakers.
Westbrook, who began to enter his mid-30s, showed signs of aging after moving to the Lakers. Even though he declined slightly, his record was still spectacular, but he wasn’t as positive a player on the court as his record.
Westbrook’s shortcomings were revealed without much filtering, including fatal turnovers, poor shooting power, rapidly declining power when there is no ball in hand, and poor decision-making. Moreover, he was a player who received a super max salary. The cheers of the crowd that welcomed Westbrook turned to boos, and trade rumors circulated from his first season with the club.
Westbrook’s sluggishness and a series of injuries to key players overlapped, and the Lakers had their worst season. I couldn’t even step on the playoff stage, let alone win. It is the Lakers who finished the 2021-2022 season in 12th place in the Western Conference without even making a play-in tournament.
As a last resort, the Lakers dropped Westbrook, who had problems with other players, as a sixth man. Westbrook, who accepted the sixth man position, showed an improvement compared to the previous season, but was still far from performing well enough for his salary. Eyes were pouring in that Westbrook had to leave in order for the Lakers to go higher.
In the end, Westbrook’s association with the Lakers, where his childhood idol Magic Johnson played, did not last even two seasons. The Lakers sent Westbrook to Utah in a triangle trade ahead of the trade deadline in February.
*Russell Westbrook’s triangle trade to Utah*
Lakers Get: D’Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley, Jared Vanderbilt
Utah Get: Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano Anderson, Damian Jones, 2027 1st round protective pick
Minnesota Get: Mike Conley, Nickel Alexander-Walker, 3 2nd round picks
Westbrook, who was selected as the MVP and reigned as the best player in the league, became a wanderer, experiencing only four trades in four years. Damian Lillard, the iconic franchise star, said of this, “Look at Westbrook. He’s been to four teams in four years, and he’s been plagued by trade rumors for two years with the Lakers. Looking at him, you feel that moving isn’t always the right choice.” I also left
After the trade, Westbrook never played for Utah. Utah, which has many young and capable guards, didn’t feel the need for Westbrook, and Westbrook wanted to play for a team that wanted him more and was closer to winning than Utah.
So Westbrook and Utah agreed to a buyout. Westbrook’s move on the free agency market drew attention from many. If he is Westbrook, who does not receive a super-maximum salary, he is a player worthy of consideration. Chicago, Miami, and the Clippers showed interest in Westbrook.
After much consideration, Westbrook’s choice was to go to the Clippers. The Clippers have Paul George, who he played with in Oklahoma City. The two parted ways after two seasons, but they maintained a strong relationship even after leaving Oklahoma City. George first sent his courting message to Westbrook in an interview.
After moving to the Clippers, Westbrook is spending his time with enthusiasm, taking the starting spot. The Clippers, which were held back by poor offensive power, made a lot of progress in terms of firepower, such as raising an average of 119.5 points in games played after Westbrook’s transfer.
Of course, there are problems. There were also quite a few points out that Westbrook and the team were not compatible. The Clippers were a slow-tempo basketball team until Westbrook joined. It is said that it is not compatible with Westbrook, who shows strength in speedy basketball. In fact, the Clippers lost all of their first five games after Westbrook joined.
However, it is still too early to draw conclusions. There is also a lot of positive energy that Westbrook brings to the team. The Clippers, who had suffered from a 5-game losing streak, immediately managed to bounce back by winning 4 games in a row. If he works more closely with Westbrook, he is expected to produce better results within the remainder of the season.
At the press conference to join the Clippers,바카라사이트 Westbrook said, “I will do anything for the team to win,” and left similar words to when he joined the Lakers. In order not to repeat the failure, now it is time to leave a different result.
The only goal left for Westbrook, who has built a splendid career such as All-Star, MVP selection, and Olympic gold medal after his professional debut, is to win the NBA Finals. Can Westbrook’s dream of winning the championship again in his 5th uniform come true?