When the Washington Wizards traded franchise icon John Wall for Russell Westbrook it was a sign that the franchise was all in on making the playoffs this season. After 27 games, the Wizards are 10-17 and that’s on the heels of a four-game winning streak.
The Wizards are still three games out of the tenth seed, which would give them a shot at the NBA playoff play-in game, and will need to keep up their recent form if they’re going to have any chance of making the postseason. A large part of the Wizards’ season-long struggles have come from their porous defense and Russell Westbrook’s abysmal play.
Russell Westbrook is key to the Washington Wizards’ season, for better or worse
Outside of a trade to bring in defensive reinforcements the Wizards’ defense will continue to be near the bottom of the league, but Westbrook regaining his form could be the internal catalyst that saves their season. The Wizards need the best version of Westbrook but the question remains does that player even still exist?
Just last season, Westbrook stormed his way to the rim to 27.2 points per game and an All-NBA selection. This season he has lost his scoring touch, down to 19.3 points per game, and while he leads the NBA in triple-doubles his box-score statistics are hiding a player in serious decline.
At his best, Westbrook was an all-encompassing force that could lead a dismal roster to the playoffs. The Wizards need to figure out what is wrong with Westbrook and whether or not the player he once was is lying dormant.