Questions are heating up while the off-season rolls on, and among that is if 2017 NBA MVP and ‘Mr. Triple Double’ himself, Russell Westbrook, who’s turning 35 years old this November, still has some elite air left in him.

LA Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue is among those who believe in Westbrook’s potential for a resurgence. Speaking on the All The Smoke podcast earlier this week, Lue praised Westbrook for his instrumental role in salvaging the Clippers’ challenging 2022-23 season. The veteran guard’s play, boundless energy, and added firepower proved to be a significant boost to a squad plagued by injuries – mostly load management.

“I love [Russell Westbrook] from day one. When you get a guy like that plays hard, gives you everything, and plays the same way every single night … you know what you’re getting. He’s a tough dude, tough minded. He saved us. [Paul George] went down and he went to another level. We got a great relationship.”

As we’re all aware of, Westbrook’s journey to revitalization is due to his horrid stint with the Los Angeles Lakers. He fit terribly with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the entire team’s structure, so as such, they missed the playoffs in his first year, with the following season almost becoming a carbon copy until the midseason trade.

Russ was dealt to the Utah Jazz in February 2023, and after an expected contract buyout, he signed with with the LA Clippers for the veteran’s minimum. That’s when he breathed new life into his career, miniscule as it may seem.

2022-23 season stats


The counting stats aren’t far from each other, but Russ was visibly more relaxed and happy with the Clippers, which may be evident in having better efficiency in his shots.

Joining the Clippers, Westbrook found himself in a familiar role alongside All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Paul George in the starting lineup. The trio has the potential to create a unique force on the court. Notably, Westbrook’s presence adds versatility and depth to the roster, making the Clippers a more formidable team overall.

All that are among the reasons why the two-year, $7.8 million re-up in early July was a no-brainer.

One aspect that Westbrook brings to the table is his ability to step up when needed. With Leonard and George often sitting out games due to injury history, his consistent contributions can be a vital asset for the Clippers. His tenacity and work ethic ensure that the team maintains its competitive edge, even during challenging times.

Take the first-round series with the Phoenix Suns for example, albeit they lost. After Leonard was sidelined, ‘Brodie’ went on to drop back-to-back 30-plus point performances, including this 37-piece:

There’s just more to be unlocked with Westbrook within this Clippers roster since he has only had a limited time with the team. With a full training camp ahead that brings a chance to build greater chemistry, we may see a strong 2023-24 campaign.

The prospect of Westbrook, Leonard, and George operating in harmony is an intriguing one for Clippers fans and NBA enthusiasts alike. Kawhi and PG present All-Star level strength on both sides of the ball, while Russ is an intense player that just plays downhill every game. The supporting cast is pretty loaded too, with Norman Powell and Ivica Zubac, among others.

But, of course, Westbrook’s return to form hinges on finding the right balance within the team. We’re all in for a treat as we await his approach. Coach Tyronn Lue’s belief in his abilities, coupled with the presence of Leonard and George, offers a beacon of hope for the veteran guard’s future success. 

As fans eagerly await the new season, one thing is certain: the potential resurgence will be a narrative worth following closely.