Can Russell Westbrook reignite the motor Pistons are missing?

OKC Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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OKC Thunder
Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Westbrook fills Pistons need for elite starting point guard:

The Detroit Pistons, like many teams that have been linked to Westbrook, are a team that has struggled over the past couple of years in finding a point guard to lead the team.

After trading with the OKC Thunder to acquire point guard Reggie Jackson, the Pistons decided to ink him to a five year $80 million contract in hopes of him becoming their franchise guard. Due to his poor play, Jackson’s minutes since joining the Pistons have steadily declined from around 30-32 minutes a game to 26-27 minutes a game.

In reaction to Jackson’s poor play, they inked Derrick Rose to a two year $15 million dollar deal this offseason in hopes he would provide a spark at the position and possibly overtake Jackson in the rotation when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Stats comparison:


PIPM: +3.1 (27th) | RPM: 2.51 (42nd)


PIPM: -0.53 (202nd) | RPM: 0.32 (130th)


PIPM: -1.47 (375th) | RPM: -1.28 (258th)

Link to PIPM (Player Impact Plus Minus) and RPM (Real Plus Minus) stats.

Westbrook is one of the best playmakers in the NBA, leading the NBA in assists in consecutive seasons. In addition to that, he ranked first overall in BBall-Index’s playmaking metric and would provide the Pistons with a playmaker they’ve been missing who is able to set up Griffin and Drummond for easy baskets.

While his shooting has certainly fallen off a cliff in recent years, he shot a career high 65 percent from 0-3 feet this season according to Basketball Reference, which is an improvement over Reggie Jackson who shot 58 percent from that range. This stat to me indicates his athleticism hasn’t fallen off as much as people assume.

He is still very capable of bodying smaller guards in the paint for layups and still has the ability to use his immense upper body strength to power through the contact of big men and finish inside.

Westbrook is a very polarizing player among media and fans who follow the NBA. Some see him as an inefficient stat padder, while others look beyond that and look at the impact he has on teams winning.

Play-by-Play Table
+/- +/-
Season G MP OnCourt On-Off
2008-09 82 2668 -5.5 +3.8
2009-10 82 2813 +5.1 +3.2
2010-11 82 2847 +1.8 -8.5
2011-12 66 2331 +7.4 +2.4
2012-13 82 2861 +10.7 +3.5
2013-14 46 1412 +7.9 +1.8
2014-15 67 2302 +4.7 +6.6
2015-16 80 2750 +11.1 +12.9
2016-17 81 2802 +4.0 +12.5
2017-18 80 2914 +6.3 +12.0
2018-19 73 2630 +5.1 +6.1
Career 821 28330 +5.2 +5.3

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 7/9/2019.

Despite his massive contract (four years – $170 million), Westbrook is well worth the gamble for middling teams that have trouble attracting star free agents such as the Pistons. Westbrook and Griffin would be arguably one of the most athletic duos in the NBA if they are teamed up, and both are coming off of All-NBA worthy seasons.

Would Westbrook make Detroit title contenders?

No, but does a team have to win a title to really be considered a success? Especially in a city that has been squeaking by seeding wise for the past couple of seasons. Pairing Westbrook with Griffin and Drummond would immediately increase the interest in Pistons basketball and take advantage of Griffin and Drummond’s prime.

However, the Pistons can’t get Westbrook for free, so let’s take a look at what the Thunder could potentially get in return if they deal Westbrook to Detroit.