Russell Westbrook continues to be the talk of the town right now as his future with the Los Angeles Lakers is still a mystery. Many believe the final straw in the Westbrook-Lakers relationship was the moment when they acquired Patrick Beverley.
The former MVP in Westbrook had some rough stretches last season, leading to some fans voicing their concerns and vouching for Westbrook to be traded. Russ tallied 18.5 Points, 7.4 Rebounds, and 7.1 Assists per game last season on 44-30-67 shooting splits, with the Lakers missing the playoffs too.
When asked about Westbrook being "more athletic than skilled", former NBA player Gilbert Arenas thinks that is the case when analyzing what type of player he has been since Westbrook came to the league. He also mentioned that is true when it comes to the likes of All-Time great players in Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
"More athletic than skilled...as of right now? Yes. Jordan was too. LeBron was too. eventually when their athleticism starts to wind down, that's when they start working on skilled stuff."
That is true for aging players as their athleticism takes a significant decrease. Great players tend to work on things based on skill, as their physical gifts tend to wind down a little bit.
"Like when Jordan started working on his back to the basket type of movement is because his athleticism started going down. — Same thing with LeBron, when he started getting slower, he started working on his body more. He started working more on the details."
Both Jordan and LeBron came into the game as freaks of nature. When Jordan was out of the game and the effects of aging were apparent, he was no longer the leaper he once was. Instead, he managed to work on his post moves and polish that aspect of his game as he became an unstoppable force from the mid-range.
The same situation was with LeBron James, as it's clear how he has worked on other aspects of his game, like his shooting and post moves. His shooting has constantly improved as he grew older, and now he can combine his IQ, athleticism, and strength with the skills he polished over the years.
The Little Things
Russell Westbrook is in the last year of his five-year, $206 million contract. By exercising his player option this offseason, he will be paid $47.1M for this season. Last season, he got paid a whopping $16,509 per minute. For many, the contributions Westbrook made the previous season doesn't seem like it is worth 47 Million Dollars; Gilbert Arenas would disagree.
"Yes he's worth it. — He's a triple double bucket, yes he's worth it."
When asked about what Westbrook needs to do to become a significant contributor once again, Arenas talked about adding shooting to his repertoire, something Westbrook has struggled with over the last couple of years.
"Westbrook has to just work on the little details, because you know he is faster, like you talk about once he gets it going to stop and pull up for a jumper...and that's probably not in his repertoire right. — He has to practice going full speed, stopping and shooting."
Arenas mentioned how pure shooters have mastered the art and skill of shooting ever since they were little, and as for fast players, good shooting doesn't come very often.
"When you think about all these fast guys in the NBA, they don't shoot the ball very well."
In the interview, Arenas noted how fast kids don't grow up and practice shooting that much since they use their speed to go wherever they want to go on the court.
Westbrook is now 33 years old and may still have something left in the tank. But for him to help his team more and be more productive, he has to expand his game, including shooting. Last year proved Westbrook was ready to shoot but just couldn't make them. That's what he probably needs to work for to become the major threat he once was just a couple of years ago.
As it looks right now, Westbrook's future with the Los Angeles Lakers is under a big question mark. Patrick Beverley may just be the guy to end this Westbrook-Lakers partnership because you can't expect Westbrook to get on the floor with the player he despised the most in his career. So the Lakers would likely have to let him go the same way the Rockets did John Wall or have someone take his expiring contract and possibly attach two first-rounders and get something valuable in return.