Russell Westbrook's play is the ultimate proof that being in the right system is often as important as the talent you bring on the court. Since the Rockets traded Clint Capela, the change in his game has been mind-blowing. Westbrook went from a shooting liability that players would leave open to an unguardable buckets machine.
In February, Russ averaged 33.3 points per game, which isn't breaking news for the former MVP. For that, we need to turn to his biggest flaw - efficiency. Westbrook was always a scorer, but the number of possessions he would dominate and bad shots he'd take were his downfall. Earlier this year, he became the worst 3 point shooter in NBA history - last month, 40.62% of his three-point attempts went in. In February 2020, Westbrook averaged 54.67% from the field on 25.5 attempts per game, averaging most points in the paint in the NBA. This was the most efficient calendar month in his entire career!
The lineups the Rockets are sending out there are making teams make a difficult decision. Put a big guy on Westbrook, and he is too fast; put a smaller guy on him, he is too strong. With no center on the floor, the paint is empty for Westbrook to dominate, and if you try and double him, four shooters are waiting to launch a three. During his monster performance in Boston, Westbrook told Kendrick Perkins how it is.
“We were sitting on the sideline, and I was saying 'Russ, it's like that?' He said, 'All night, it's too easy. I get to the paint at will, I'm gonna kill them,' and by the way, the Celtic players could hear them, but they could not stop him.”
Kendrick Perkins, ESPN
The Rockets are playing tremendous basketball, and with 22 games left for them in the season, Jay Williams predicted they would get the no.2 seed in the West. The Rockets are currently 4th, two games back behind the Clippers and Nuggets. Their next game is on Friday against the Clippers whoa re finally playing their top roster. A win against them would cement the Rockets as contenders in the West.