Russell Westbrook Fantasy Outlook & Value 2019-20

Three years after Kevin Durant left the Thunder, Russell Westbrook has done the same, albeit by trade, putting an end to a decade long era of Thunder basketball. Now on the Houston Rockets, Westbrook will likely be motivated to remind everyone of his dominance after two disappointing first round exits in a row on the Thunder. Whether he’ll get the chance to do so on his new team, however, is another question. While Westbrook is a superstar, he’s a guy that needs the ball on his hands to be effective. With James Harden likely taking precedence in the Rockets’ offense, how Westbrook will adapt should be a fascinating storyline. As it stands right now, both Harden and Westbrook seem committed to making this partnership work.


The Rockets are a team that will be looking to take advantage of the now wide open Western conference. It’s worth noting that, despite all the attention given to some other teams in the west, the Rockets have had the best record in the league the past two seasons. If Westbrook can prove to be an upgrade over Chris Paul in the Rockets’ system, they’ll have a chance to make some serious noise. After Westbrook’s MVP season, his production has gone down the past two seasons. At 30 years of age and now likely having to defer to Harden, it’s possible he’s already hit his statistical peak. Regardless of whether he succeeds in having a resurgent season, it’ll at least be interesting to see him try, and see how the Rockets adjust to accommodate him.

Russell Westbrook Fantasy Stats

GP MPG PPG RPG APG FG% FT% 3PT% STL BLK TO FPPG
73 36.0 22.9 11.1 10.7 42.8 65.6 29.0 1.9 0.5 4.5 55.1

Upside

Despite Westbrook seeing a decrease in efficiency the past couple years, he’s still averaged a triple double for three consecutive seasons. Despite all the ruckus on his methods to get them, in the end, he still gets the triple doubles, and that’s what matters most. While it may be hard to see him averaging a triple double for his fourth year in a row on his new team, he’ll still likely continue to be one of the most versatile guards in the league. If his shooting stroke bounces back and he’s able to successfully buy in and integrate himself into the Rockets’ scheme, he and Harden would probably become the best backcourt in the league. His ceiling is a season where he averages 25 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2 steals a game.

Floor

There was a reason many people were skeptical when the trade went down, as it feels like Westbrook and Harden just aren’t compatible style wise. If Chris Paul, a ball dominant guard who could shoot, beefed with Harden, how will he react to Westbrook, a ball dominant guard that for the most part can’t shoot. Yes, it’s true that Harden and Westbrook have a history together, but a lot of things have changed since they were teammates all those years ago on the Thunder. In a worst-case scenario, Harden and Westbrook are unable to coexist, creating tension that turns Houston into one of the most dysfunctional teams in the league. That would likely result in a season where Westbrook averages 20 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, and one steal a game on poor shooting splits.

What to Expect

houston rocketsWestbrook is currently ranked as the 3rd best point guard in fantasy and the 7th best player overall. He’s expected to be drafted in the first round and has an auction value of $52. While Westbrook’s actual value may have been called into question the past year, his fantasy value is still extremely high. His style of play is very fantasy friendly and while he may not be able to be the man on a championship caliber team in real life, he’s capable of doing so in fantasy.

The Rockets should be one of the most interesting teams to watch this season. It feels like they have the most boom or bust potential in the league. It’s possible to see their individual talent coming together as one, resulting in a championship. Conversely, it’s possible Harden and Westbrook will end up butting heads, resulting in a disastrous season where they miss the playoffs. In my personal opinion, I think Westbrook will be willing to accept his role in Houston, but I don’t think he’ll be able to change his game enough to put Houston in the same conversation as teams like the Lakers or Clippers. I think a season where Westbrook averages 22 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists, and 1 steal a game is the most likely outcome.

  
Despite being born in Orange County growing up as a die hard Lakers fan, his fandom is pretty diverse and extends as far as Syracuse University. Aside from sports journalism and analytics, he’s passionate about video games and critiquing movies. Eventual goals include ownership of the entire NBA and NFL.

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