Russell Westbrook doesn’t have the most reliable jump shot, which cost the Houston Rockets in the playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers.
It’s no secret that the Houston Rockets run an offense almost exclusively built on driving to the hoop and knocking down threes. It’s a strategy that has done well in the regular season but needs some tweaking to succeed in the playoffs. Given that, the fact that one of their superstars has trouble stroking it from anywhere not at the basket can’t remain unaddressed.
Russell Westbrook shot just 25.8 percent from beyond the arc last season, which is higher than only his 2010 average of 22.1 percent as an NBA sophomore. That percentage was also dead-last among the Rockets’ regular rotation players. The playoffs only saw Westbrook’s struggles worsen, as he dipped to 24.2 percent, shooting just 8-for-33 in two series.
For a stretch, the Rockets did well to work around the fact that Westbrook’s outside game lacks by having him catch the ball with momentum toward the basket, but in the playoffs, the strategy was easily countered. The Thunder and Lakers frequently backed fof Westbrook to stop his drive and make him take the outside shot, which resulted in a miss more often than not.
The only way the Houston Rockets’ micro-ball strategy can be at its maximum effectiveness is if all five guys on the court can shoot the three at a decent rate. Teams have been gambling on the Rockets not being able to sustain hot shooting for a series, and so far, that has worked.
Of course, hope isn’t lost with Westbrook. After all, hundreds of non-shooters have tweaked their form and become much better shooters throughout their careers in the NBA. The only way to improve your shot is to get better with the help of others, and that’s what I’ll be attempting to address with this list.
Here are the top five on my wishlist of guys that could help Russell Westbrook improve his jumper, starting with a former Rocket.
Next: No. 5 & 4