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Experts Analysis

3 Things: Westbrick, Turner & Drummond

by Jared Johnson
Updated On: January 26, 2021, 12:47 am ET

What’s up with Russell Westbrick?

 

Russell Westbrook, who only actually missed two games during a two-week absence, returned to the floor on Sunday, and he continued his assault on his shooting percentages – finishing 3-of-11 from the field and 2-of-4 from the stripe on his way to nine points, eight rebounds, six assists, one 3-pointer and, of course, four turnovers across 25 minutes.

“I’m definitely not where I need to be in all aspects,” said Westbrook after the game. “I just gotta be better and get my sh*t together.”

He did go on to say that his quad was feeling fine, but through his first eight games in D.C. he’s been remarkably bad, chucking up 18.3 shots per game while only connecting on 37% of those attempts and he’s shooting just 65.7% from the stripe on 5.0 attempts per game – which is just enough volume to destroy you in roto leagues. The counting stats have been solid with 18.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 10.6 assists, 1.4 triples and 1.1 steals per game, but he’s also (of course) throwing away 5.1 turnovers per game, so he’s crushing you in three categories in 9-cat leagues.

One of the problems is that Russ is taking a ton of long-twos (28.8% of his total shot attempts; career-high), and far more 3s than advisable (24.7% of his total shot attempts), and that’s not going to work out too well when he’s converting on just 42.9% and 30.6% of those shot attempts, respectively. One of the reasons why Russ was so efficient last season with his career-best 47.2% shooting percentage is that he largely abandoned the 3-point shot with those attempts accounting for just 16.6% of his total attempts, but apparently, he’s forgotten all those lessons and regressed to all his bad habits playing for Scott Brooks again.

“He’s gonna play better. We’re gonna have to go through that with him,” said Brooks of Westbrook’s disappointing play thus far. “He’s gonna get in a rhythm. It’s gonna take some time.”

This has to be the absolute low-point for Westbrook this season, and I doubt that he’ll shoot under 40% for the entire year, but it certainly hasn’t been pretty through his early days in D.C. Because of his warts, I wouldn’t necessarily view this as a buy-low opportunity – unless you’re getting him for next to nothing – but my main advice to those with Westbrook on their roster would be to stay patient, wait for a monster triple-double, and then see what you can get for him on the open market. He will be better than this, but his tendency to chuck up shots without any real expectation of the ball going through the rim all while throwing the ball out of bounds at least five times a night, are things that probably won’t be going away. Russ gonna Russ.

 

Myles Turner’s Gandalf the Grey SZN: YOU SHALL NOT PASS

 

Myles Turner sent away another six shots across 36 minutes on Sunday, adding 25 points, four rebounds, four 3-pointers, one assist, three steals and five turnovers in a narrow loss to the Raptors. He’s been something else this season, leading the league in swats by a wide margin with 58 on the year (Rudy Gobert sits in second place with 43, and third is Chris Boucher with 36), to go with averages of 14.0 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 triples (career-high), 1.1 assists, 1.5 steals (career-high) and just 1.6 turnovers per game on 50.3% shooting from the field and 76.9% from the line, which has him ranked inside the top-8 on the year. He’s been operating at a pace of 101.23 this year, which marks a career-high and helps explain why he’s seen such a massive uptick in stats this season. Turner’s previous career-high in blocks per game was 2.7 during the 2018-19 season, but per-100 possessions that year he averaged 4.6 swats per game, so his ridiculous output on the shot-blocking department does seem sustainable this year. Congrats if you snagged him with a mid-round pick on draft day, because he’s on track to absolutely obliterate his draft day ADP of 55.8. 

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Is Andre Drummond getting replaced?

 

Andre Drummond had another underwhelming performance on Sunday as the Cavs got blown out by the Celtics to the tune of 38 points, logging just 18 minutes on his way to 11 points (4-of-9 FG, 3-of-6 FT), five rebounds, two blocks and three turnovers. He yet again did not close this game, which is something that’s happened in two of the three games since Jarrett Allen’s arrival, and over the past three games with JA in town Drummond’s averages have plummeted to 14.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block and 3.7 turnovers a night.

It’s not hard to make the case that JA is a far superior defender than Drummond, and I believe head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has already accepted that premise given how his rotations have looked lately. Drummond is averaging a plus/minus rating of minus-7 over the past three games compared to Allen’s plus-0.3, and to take it a step further, Drummond causes his opponents to shoot 6.7 percentage points worse on shots within six feet of the rim – while Allen’s opponents shoot a full 12.4 percentage points worse on those less-than-six-feet shot attempts.

Now, it’s not as if Drummond is going to fall out of the rotation entirely, but he’ll likely be watching from the sidelines fairly regularly while Allen closes out games, which means he’s probably only looking at minutes in the mid-20s. That’s still enough floor time for him to put up productive stat lines, but it will greatly reduce the likelihood of him coming through with 20-20 lines. Considering he’s in the final year of his contract, it’s not unthinkable that he could be moved at some point, as it seems apparent that the Cavs are looking to move in a different direction – but Drummond has received very little attention on the open market over the past few years – and that’s probably because all the opposing GMs recognize the emptiness behind his 30-20 stat lines. There also aren’t really any teams out there with an obvious need at center, so hoping that Drummond’s situation improves with a fairy tale trade may just be wishful thinking. Because of all of this, I would recommend trying to flip Drummond after his next big-time performance, as I expect them to happen less frequently moving forward.

Jared Johnson

A hoops fanatic, Jared Johnson has been a member of the Rotoworld team since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @Jae_Tha_Truth, and feel free to send him your questions regarding trades, draft strategies and all things fantasy basketball.