Written By: @Fullcourttalk
Russell Westbrook has officially been traded for John Wall and a first-round pick. Westbrook is set to join Bradley Beal in Washington to help them make a playoff run with a young lineup surrounding them. While John Wall is set to reunite with his former college teammate, Demarcus Cousins, he also gets a chance to play with James Harden, and new Houston Rocket, Christian Wood.
Russell Westbrook’s Fit With The Wizards
Westbrook and Wall are very similar in their play style, but I would argue that Westbrook is much more aggressive. He’s tenacious on both ends, and he has the ability to will his team to victory at times. This all comes at a price though, with his aggressiveness comes his antics. Westbrook gets into these battles with the opposing guards, and even if they are nowhere near his level, he will try to beat them. He did this against Ricky Rubio when he was with the Jazz, Rubio won, and he did this against Rondo during the bubble, Rondo won.
Even so, Westbrook makes this team much better. Without Wall for all of last season, the Wizards just barely missed the playoffs, and with no real losses or gains in the offseason, they should be able to be around the 6-8 seeds. This could be the return of triple-double Westbrook. He slides right next to Bradley Beal pretty well. It still could be an awkward fit with Deni Avdija because of his lack of shooting. But hopefully, Rui Hachimura is able to pick up the slack shooting wise.
John Wall’s Fit With The Rockets
Trading for Wall is a huge risk. It is good they were able to get at least a first-round pick in return for Westbrook though. Wall hasn’t played an NBA game since 2018. So, it has been two years since his last game on the hardwood. If Wall is somehow the same player that he once was, that would be amazing for the Rockets. Even then, he is still going to have to adjust to the pace and conditioning, which could take a long time. This could be a sign of something much bigger for the Rockets though.
As constructed, this Rockets team is awkward. Their two big moves are two players who are coming back from huge injuries. Cousins hasn’t been able to stay healthy since his torn Achilles with the New Orleans Pelicans, and Wall hasn’t seen the floor in two years. Then add into the mix a brand new big man that wants to make a name for himself in Christian Wood and an unhappy James Harden. On paper, this is a good team, but on the floor, it could be an entirely different story. They will have three guys that have rather large egos, they could clash early on. I see this move for John Wall as a hint for James Harden to exit via trade. This trade likely isn’t enough to keep Harden on board. I think in the end, Harden will be gone before the trade deadline.
Overall Thought Of The Trade
This trade feels very underwhelming. Both players are essentially the same, both are aging athletic freaks that are slowly declining. It almost feels like both general managers just agreed to a swap because the personalities didn’t fit. Or, two fantasy basketball owners just wanted to swap players. In the end, I don’t think this trade made one team way better than the other, I think in the end, both teams will stay around the same.