Russell Westbrook is having a season to forget this year.
After the Houston Rockets traded him to the Washington Wizards, there was a lot of chatter about how a change of scenery and the opportunity to play alongside Bradley Beal might rejuvenate Westbrook’s career.
Thus far, that has not been the case.
Westbrook is averaging just 19.9 points per game (worst since 2009) on 41.9 percent shooting from the field (worst since 2009). On a roster with few scoring threats outside of Beal, the former league MVP has simply been unable to find any sort of rhythm.
The bad times continued on Sunday, when the Wizards took on the Boston Celtics.
In a sequence that perfectly summed up Westbrook’s season up to this point, he stepped up to the free throw line and airballed a free throw.
After the fact, he just stood there – shocked by what he was seeing.
Russ’ reaction after airballing his free throw 💀 pic.twitter.com/GGftoKQRvo
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 14, 2021
That’s just the sort of season Westbrook is having. Over the course of his first 12 years in the NBA he shot a tick under 80 percent from the free throw line. This year? A career-worst 65.5 percent.
Westbrook’s woes are symptomatic of the Wizards’ larger problem – this team just doesn’t work. As presently constructed, this group cannot seriously contend. That’s probably why the front office has quietly revealed what it wants in a trade for Beal, and why the current league leader in points per game low-key offered up a list of five teams he’d be willing to go to.
This week, Westbrook and Beal were linked to a mega trade involving a fellow Eastern Conference bottom dweller that could radically change the circumstances of all partes involved. If it goes down – maybe Westbrook experiences the sort of career revival folks were hoping for at the beginning of the year. But barring something like that going down, things will likely get worse before they get better for the 32-year-old.