Russell Westbrook and his playoff mode have often been questioned. Westbrook struggled to make it out of the first round of the NBA Playoffs each year in Oklahoma City after Kevin Durant left. While he did get to the second round this year, it was primarily on the back of James Harden.
Westbrook had a dull series against the LA Lakers, averaging 19.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.8 assists. While these aren’t conventionally bad, they are very disappointing when you come off a regular-season averaging over 25 points. The one-two punch in Houston didn’t work, as Harden was the only one that could be relied on for consistent buckets. Westbrook realized that and have an honest interview after the game.
Rockets’ Russell Westbrook on his quad: “It wasn’t 100%. I’m not the guy to make excuses. It’s very frustrating. Catching COVID, I had to sit back 21 days without working out… The postseason is when you elevate your game. I was just trying to catch a rhythm.” pic.twitter.com/FkGcoICWTe
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) September 13, 2020
“It wasn’t 100%. I’m not the guy to make excuses. It’s very frustrating. Catching COVID, I had to sit back 21 days without working out… The postseason is when you elevate your game. I was just trying to catch a rhythm.”
Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets: What is next?
Russell Westbrook and the Rockets have some soul-searching to do. The small-ball experiment failed this year, and the team doesn’t have a lot of draft picks to retool the squad. With uncertainty around the future of coach Mike D’Antoni, the team isn’t looking the best for the future.
Westbrook needs a better and more reliable three-point shot for success. Teams give him the Giannis Antetokounmpo treatment on the perimeter. Even though Westbrook is athletic, he cannot bully defenses like how Giannis can. Considering how Giannis was also sent home in 5 games, Brodie should look at how to improve his shot for next season.
With both Westbrook and Harden still locked into long-contracts with the Rockets, GM Daryl Morey should try to engineer some moves to build a better team to capitalize on the aging stars before it’s too late. However, they are thin on assets, so it will be interesting to see if Morey can do something like the Lakers this season and sign a bunch of veterans on minimum deals.