An argument can be made for having a non-traditional point guard and another for a player who strictly brings up the ball and directs the offense.
And then there is the case for Russell Westbrook.
Just hours after Clippers president of operations Lawrence Frank stated that the team didn’t necessarily need a pure point guard, two of his players openly campaigned to bring on the talented yet somewhat prickly former Laker.
Westbrook, 34, seemingly wore out his welcome with the Lakers and was traded this week to Utah but is expected to be bought out by the Jazz, opening the door for another team to sign him.
Paul George and Marcus Morris Sr. want that team to be the Clippers.
“It would definitely improve our team if we had that traditional point guard, you know, to kind of get us in things and make the game easy,” George said after Friday’s loss to Milwaukee. “So, hopefully Russell sees this and we figure something out.”
George, who played alongside Westbrook in Oklahoma City for two seasons (2017-19), said the Clippers have enough shooters and the spacing would be there for him.
“I’m a big believer in him and a fan of what Russ’ work is, having had one of my best seasons in my career alongside of him,” George said. “I’ve seen what he can do, night in, night out and I think he’s still got a lot of game there.”
Asked what he thought the team needed after failing to secure a point guard before the NBA trade deadline, Morris Sr. was blunt in his answer.
“Uh, what are we missing? I mean (expletive), I think we need (another) point guard,” he said, adding that it could be a backup or starting point guard.
He then threw his support behind Westbrook once he found out George had mentioned his name. Both players thought Westbrook would mesh well with the Clippers on the floor and in the locker room. Westbrook’s time with the Lakers was marked with on-court highlights and off-court lowlights.
Earlier this season, Westbrook put up 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists off the bench in a close loss to Philadelphia for a record-breaking fourth career triple-double off the bench – the most triple-doubles off the bench in NBA history.
Two weeks later, Westbrook dished out his 8,967th assist against Brooklyn, surpassing Gary Payton for 10th on the NBA career assists list.
But for all the great statistics, there were just as many subpar shooting and turnover-filled nights for Westbrook to elicit boos from the Lakers crowd. Many of those nights were followed by testy postgame interviews with local reporters.
“It’s funny how people just like to try to down his career after having like … I mean the Lakers didn’t win, so it’s not like he’s having the off year. The whole damn team is having an off year,” Morris Sr. said. “So, it’s not like it’s just him.
“Man, we’ll take him. We’ll love him. We’re open arms. Come on and let’s try to get to the championship.”
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George was careful not to criticize the Lakers organization, especially LeBron James, who recently became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He did say that the Clippers are a younger overall team.
“We can run with him and that’s kind of our game, spacing the floor,” George said. “…We got a bunch of guys that fit that style of play – Kawhi (Leonard), Norm (Powell), (Terance) Mann. Quite honestly, we need somebody – a guy that can get up and down the floor and get us some easy baskets in transition.”