It was only a year ago when Paul George spurned the Los Angeles Lakers by announcing that he was returning to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder: “If y’all didn’t quite get it, let me say it again: I’m here to stay,” he said.
So it came as a surprise when George requested to be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers last summer. But then we realized that it was part of a much bigger plan. Kawhi Leonard wouldn’t sign with the Clippers unless Steve Ballmer traded for Paul George. And so it happened.
That trade altered the Oklahoma City Thunder’s plans. George had the best season of his career in OKC. He was a candidate for both MVP and DPOY during the 2018-19 season. By trading him, it meant that the cash-strapped Thunder wanted a reset. And whey you don’t want to win during a season, you don’t need a marquee player on the squad. That meant that Russell Westbrook became expendable because he no longer fit their timeline.
The Thunder proceeded to trade Westbrook to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul. While Paul is still a very good player today, the Thunder could easily flip him to a playoff contender during the regular season for future assets. That’s another story. Ours is about Rusell Westbrook going to Houston and the impact of that move to Russ’ numbers.
We know Russell Westbrook to be a statistical monster. He likes to pile up stats and he counts his numbers. That’s why he has been breaking triple-double records in the past two seasons. Meanwhile, the NBA betting gods have been very creative with their proposition bets. BetOnline.com has come up with the over/under odds for Westbrook’s numbers this season in Houston.
Russell Westbrook Season Props
Points Per Game
- Over 22.5 (-125)
- Under 22.5 (-115)
When we talk about Russell Westbrook, we’re talking about one of the most offensive-minded point guards we’ve ever seen in the history of the NBA. Drafted 4th overall by the Seattle Supersonics in the 2008 draft out of UCLA, Westbrook is one of the league’s top scorers. After averaging below 20 points per game in his first two NBA seasons, Westbrook has averaged 21 points per game in the last nine years. He has a career scoring average of 23.0 points per game. The thing about Westbrook is that he will be playing for the Rockets this season and unlike in OKC where he has been the main scoring option in the last three seasons, he will have to play alongside James Harden who is the NBA’s scoring leader the past two years. You can argue that Westbrook averaged over 23 points in four out of his last six seasons playing with Kevin Durant in OKC but the situation in Houston is different because the Rockets have more scoring options that the Thunder had during Westbrook’s tenure there. Remember that Houston has Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, PJ Tucker, and Austin Rivers. I think Westbrook still averages 20 points per game this season but barely. As I said earlier, I believe he counts his numbers and for as long as it’s in the 20’s he’ll be okay with that.
Prediction: Under 22.5
Assists Per Game
- Over 8 (-120)
- Under 8 (-120)
When we talk about assists, Russell Westbrook has averaged over 8 assists per game in the last five seasons including at least 10 assists per game in the last four years. He’s led the assists in the last two seasons. But that was in OKC where he was the main and perhaps the only playmaker on the team. The Rockets have other playmakers on their team. James Harden is just one. Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon can also pass. However, I predicted that Westbrook is going to average less than 22.5 points per game this season because the Rockets have too many talented scorers. Because of that, he will also have so many passing targets in Houston. That said, I think Westbrook will average more than 8 assists per game this season. For one, the guy he is replacing, averaged 8.2 assists per game last season. I think Russ is still going to average at least 10 assists per game this season.
Prediction: Over 8
- Over 8 (-125)
- Under 8 (-115)
Russ averaged double digits in rebounding in each of the last three seasons. But remember those were his triple-double years. While Westbrook was chasing his triple-double history, his teammates gave him their full support. There were many theories that OKC’s big men helped Westbrook with his triple-doubles by allowing him to grab a rebound whenever possible. In the short, Westbrook was padding his stats in OKC but because the Thunder were winning, the team was okay with it. There will be no stat-padding in Houston. The Rockets have excellent rebounders like Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker, Tyson Chandler, and even Harden. Westbrook never averaged over 8 rebounds per game before his triple-double seasons. He will play within D’Antoni’s system and the priority in Houston is winning titles not getting triple-doubles.
Prediction: Under 8
- Over 23.5 (-120)
- Under 23.5 (-120)
Westbrook has averaged in a triple-double in the last three seasons and there’s a story to that. 2017 was OKC’s first season without Kevin Durant so Westbrook had to carry the team on his shoulders and that’s what he did. That year, he became the first player since Oscar Robertson to average in a triple-double and set the record for most triple-doubles in a season. The following year, Westbrook placed himself alone is a pedestal by being the first player to average in a triple-double in consecutive seasons. Last season, he put the rest of the world farther behind by averaging in a triple-double for three straight seasons. That’s the end of the story though because Russ is joining a Houston Rockets team that was one win away from the NBA Finals two seasons ago. The Rockets have a complete team and Westbrook is “merely” replacing their starting point guard there. He doesn’t have to do everything in Houston. I think the triple-double average ends this year and I think Westbrook will have fewer than 20 triple-doubles this season.
Prediction: Under 23.5