When veteran PG Russell Westbrook joined the Clippers, Ty Lue said the team finally had a ‘leader’

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Russell Westbrook Clippers pic

To start the 2022-23 season, Russell Westbrook was a member of the LA Lakers. He was moved to a bench role and then shipped off at the trade deadline to Utah. The Jazz bought out his contract and then he was picked up by the Clippers. Westbrook found success quickly with his new squad and his head coach praised his efforts. Tye Lue said the team finally had a “leader” after they signed with the Clippers. 

In his first season with the Lakers, Russell Westbrook played and started in 78 games. For the Lakers in 2022-23, Westbrook played in 52 games but made just three starts. Head coach Darvin Ham felt that the veteran PG was most effective off the bench. Before last season, Westbrook had not come off the bench since November of 2008.

Luckily, Westbrook seems to have found a new home with the Clippers. He was a free agent this offseason but resigned to a team-friendly two-year, $7.8 million contract.

Russell Westbrook was underutilized with the Lakers in 2022-23

In the past, Russell Westbrook had been asked to be his team’s top point scorer. That’s not the tole he has to play for Tue Lue on the Clippers. He recognizes Westbrook’s strengths and lets him control the offense. After joining the Clippers after the trade deadline, the nine-time all-star started and played in 21 games.

The Clippers made the postseason in 2023 and Westbrook played even better than he had in the regular season. It was only five games in the playoffs but he averaged (23.6) points, (7.6) rebounds, (7.4) assists, (1.2) steals, and (1.4) blocks. Westbrook averaged (38.4) minutes per game in the postseason compared to (30.2) in the regular season.

When the Clippers play their first game of the 2023-24 season, expect Ty Lue to have the veteran PG in the starting lineup. At 34 years old, Westbrook still has a lot of gas left in the tank and can be an ineffective player for the Clippers. What the team really needs is Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to stay healthy for the majority of the year.