While Russell Westbrook brings a lot of things to the Los Angeles Lakers, one thing that he would never be considered is a great shooter. While he can certainly get hot at times, Westbrook isn’t necessarily a floor spacer, which is why the NBA’s rule changes to fouls drawn with ‘unnatural’ shooting motions isn’t a concern to him.
Over the past few seasons, there has been a big rise in players going out of their ways to draw fouls on defenders who are either stationary or jumping straight up and down as they are allowed to do. The likes James Harden and Trae Young have become despised across the league for their tricks on the court and with these new changes, will have to change some things up.
But Westbrook isn’t worried about these changes and doesn’t believe he’ll need any sort of adjustment to the new rules, giving a hilarious response when asked about it.
“Not for me,” Westbrook said after the Los Angeles Lakers’ latest preseason contest. “There ain’t too many people flying at me, so I’ll be alright [laughs]. So not much of an adjustment for me, but guys that actually use it all the time, it’s definitely probably going to be an adjustment for them.”
It’s great to see Westbrook being able to laugh at himself, but he is right in that opposing players aren’t closing out on him in a way that would open up the possibility of him using those tricks. In fact, as many are aware, the Lakers used this strategy to much success during the 2020 NBA playoffs when Westbrook was a member of the Houston Rockets.
Westbrook understands that shooting is not his forte, which is why he can make a joke about it. It’s also why the Lakers brought in a number of shooters this summer to offset that and keep the floor properly spaced. These rule changes will affect many players, perhaps even some on the Lakers, but Westbrook is unlikely to be one of them.
Frank Vogel discusses Russell Westbrook’s shooting
Of course, while Westbrook isn’t a great shooter, he will need to do enough to keep defenses honest and Frank Vogel made it clear his expectations for the point guard in shooting situations.
“Green light in catch-and-shoot situations,” the head coach said. “And then, obviously, be smart about making the defense pay versus unders with shooting enough to get rhythm threes without forcing it and without doing it too often.”
Vogel continued, “We just don’t want to live off that, but we want [Westbrook] to be aggressive in catch-and-shoot situations when those other guys have the ball.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!