Despite my clear hatred of Russell Westbrool, I find myself writing about him a lot. That is because he is constantly doing things that continue my feeling that he is the most overrated player currently in the NBA. I don’t say that because he is not talented or he doesn’t work hard. Former teammates Steven Adams and Enes Kanter have come out publicly stating that he is their favorite teammate they have ever had. Former high school, college and NBA teammates have raved about his work ethic. I’m sure he has his moments, but honestly the fact of the matter is, he doesn’t make his team around him better and he doesn’t have an attitude to be a champion. For those reasons he is perfect for the New York Knicks. He is a big name that is a loser. Sound familiar…Carmelo Anthony. Here are three reasons why Russell Westbrook and New York needs to happen.
He doesn’t have to actually win anything.
The Knicks have the third longest playoff drought in the NBA (7 years). Even with adding Westbrook the Knicks won’t have an expectation of a championship. The goal will be just making the playoffs. Westbrook is really good at making the playoffs. He just isn’t good at actually winning anything. The East is still very weak at the bottom so Westbrook and some role players should be enough to get them to the 7th or 8th seed. If New York is able to get to the playoffs after this long drought it will seem a lot bigger than it really is. Even if they get swept, no one will blame Westbrook.
New York needs a star.
The Knicks continually have missed out on the key free agents. They organizationa and the fan base have a ridiculous idea that they are really a great destination despite having one of the worst owners in the league, one of the worst reputations over the last decade and literally no pieces that will help a star get to the next level (No offense RJ Barrett).
Grabbing Westbrook would still be a big deal around the league. He is a star, but he is a star that doesn’t seem to play well with others. Paul George, Kevin Durant and now James Harden are three running mates that were just fine with moving on from playing with him. The Knicks will legit have a player to build around but they will have to find the perfect player to put alongside him. But who that is..no idea. The Knicks will have to most likely draft the running mate so that Westbrook can teach him the way he wants him to play.
Getting Westbrook will get RJ Barrett out of New York (Hopefully)
RJ Barrett was second on the team with a usage percentage of 24%. He did not have a great year in 2019-2020. Barrett’s PER (player efficiency rating) was 10.7, the league average was 15. He also had trouble with his shot, shooting just 32% from three (still better than Westbrook). Despite the fact that he did not have a great year, Barrett is still just 19 years old. He has great size and has shown flashes of what he can be. While the Knicks may want to keep Barrett to play along with Westbrook, the partnership really wouldn’t make a lot of sense. Westbrook needs players that will stand on the outside and be ready to shoot. Barrett wants to drive the ball adn utilize his length and mid-range jumper. If the Knicks truly wanted to develop Barrett they would not add Russell Westbrook.
Including Barrett in a trade with Houston would be good for both teams. If the Rockets have no interest in Barrett, the Knicks could use him as a trade chip to pick up a solid #2 to work with Westbrook. These two would never work well together.