Why Clippers Coach Tyronn Lue Believes Russell Westbrook Is the Missing Piece

The Clippers’ dynamic during the 2022-2023 NBA season took an unexpected turn when Russell Westbrook joined the team in February. The move was met with skepticism, but Clippers coach Tyronn Lue believed Westbrook was a valuable addition to the roster. Here’s what you need to know about this intriguing partnership.

Westbrook’s Impact on Clippers’ Practice Intensity

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue thinks Russell Westbrook is a fit - Los Angeles Times

Amidst concerns about the Clippers’ inconsistent regular-season performance, Westbrook’s arrival injected a dose of intensity into the team’s practice sessions. Despite being one of the NBA’s oldest rosters, the Clippers practiced harder than expected, and Coach Lue attributed this change to Westbrook’s leadership.

Lue stated, "I credit Russ for a lot of that because you wouldn’t get a veteran team like this to practice as hard as we did in March but for those six, seven practices we had. We went hard. And so he led that charge as far as just getting everybody going, doing it full speed."

Westbrook’s Relentless Effort and Impact

One of the initial concerns surrounding Westbrook’s arrival was his consistency in effort and availability. However, Westbrook silenced doubters by consistently playing hard and maintaining high energy levels throughout his brief tenure with the Clippers.

Lue acknowledged Westbrook’s contribution, saying, "He really saved us. Hats off to Russ for bringing it every single night."

Statistical Improvement

Westbrook’s impact extended beyond motivation; his performance on the court improved significantly. His shooting numbers, especially in the midrange game, saw notable increases. Notably, he improved his shooting percentage on shots between three-10 feet by 17 percentage points and between 10-16 feet by 15 percentage points.

Contract Considerations and Player Support

While the Clippers are eager to retain Westbrook, contract limitations might come into play. With the team lacking Westbrook’s Bird rights, their offer is restricted to the minimum salary, projected at around $3.8 million. Lue expressed his desire to have Westbrook back, and teammate Paul George also vouched for Westbrook’s return, emphasizing his leadership and dedication.

George stated, "I just think he’s the leader that we need at the point guard position going forward."

Adaptability and Value

Westbrook’s willingness to adapt to changing circumstances became evident during the playoffs when both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were sidelined due to injuries. He stepped up as a top scoring option and averaged 23.6 points, his highest postseason average in five years. Even in challenging situations, Westbrook’s field-goal percentage remained commendable.

Besides on-court performance, Westbrook appreciated the positive atmosphere within the Clippers organization. He noted, "A happy and enjoyable environment is something that you don’t see everywhere."

Looking Ahead

The success of the Westbrook-Clippers partnership has raised hopes for the future. Westbrook’s remarkable impact on and off the court has left both sides interested in continuing the collaboration. As an unrestricted free agent, Westbrook’s decision in July will determine if this exciting partnership will continue to flourish.

In conclusion, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue’s belief that Russell Westbrook is a perfect fit proved to be well-founded. Westbrook’s leadership, intensity, and adaptability breathed new life into the Clippers’ season, and his future with the team remains a subject of anticipation as the offseason approaches.

Related Topics of Interest

Tyronn Lue Gets Real On Russell Westbrook’s Fit With The Clippers

Russell Westbrook, with all his basketball quirks, remains a compelling asset for the Los Angeles Clippers. In a candid pre-game media interaction at Madison Square Garden, Clippers’ head coach Tyronn Lue delved into Westbrook’s integration within the team. Despite Westbrook’s imperfections, the Clippers have found ways to harness his unique skills and contributions. So, what does Coach Lue have to say about Russ’s role with the squad?

Will Russell Westbrook help the Clippers win a championship?

The Los Angeles Clippers have high hopes for Russell Westbrook, their newly acquired point guard, and winning a championship this season. However, Head Coach Tyronn Lue isn’t burdening the veteran with excessive pressure. "We want Russ to be Russ," Lue emphasized during a press conference. "If he’s doing too much or not enough, we’ll provide guidance as needed."

Who is Russell Westbrook?

Russell Westbrook, a seasoned guard, has recently inked a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers after being bought out by the Utah Jazz. This announcement came from Clippers’ President of Basketball Operations, Lawrence Frank, on a Wednesday. If you’re wondering about the details, Westbrook became available after being waived by the Utah Jazz on a preceding Monday, paving the way for his transition to a new team.

Why did the Clippers promote Mike Lue in 2020?

In 2020, the Clippers made a significant decision to promote Mike Lue to a prominent coaching role, choosing him over notable candidates like future Lakers coach Darvin Ham and future Sacramento coach Mike Brown. The decision stemmed from their belief that Lue was the ideal choice to lead a team with two superstars and championship aspirations, a sentiment that remains unchanged.

Will Tyronn Lue return?

Is Coach Tyronn Lue set to return for a fourth season with the team? According to Lue himself, he fully expects to return. Lawrence Frank, the Clippers’ President of Basketball Operations, echoed this sentiment with unwavering confidence, stating emphatically on April 27, "Of course he’s back. Ty is a terrific coach, and we’re excited to have him as our coach."

Who is the coach of the Clippers 2023?

Tyronn Lue

Tyronn Lue, the head coach of the LA Clippers in 2023, finds himself at a full circle moment as he takes on the role of coaching Team USA in the FIBA World Cup. He joins an esteemed coaching staff, including all-time greats, to represent Team USA in this prestigious event.

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