Smith doesn't think Westbrook will struggle adjusting to Wizards' style


The Wizards and Rockets pulled a blockbuster trade swapping All-Star point guards Russell Westbrook and John Wall, and both teams will have to get their new additions settled in quickly. 

Luckily for the Wizards, who are gunning for a playoff berth this season after a two-year absence, have the luxury of familiarity with Westbrook and his new coaching staff. 

As Washington point guard Ish Smith explained to NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller, Westbrook and Wall's similar skill sets and playing style coupled with Westbrook's history with Scott Brooks and assistant coach Robert Pack should allow the Wizards to plug and play the 2016-17 league MVP. 

"Because Russ and John are so similar in how they play, and their mentalities, I don't think there'll be much of a drop-off," Smith said. "Obviously our offense changed. John didn't get a chance to play in the new offense that coach Pack brought in last year.

"With the offense and how we play -- and with so much familiarity with coach Pack with coach Brooks -- it shouldn't be a situation where it's so outlandish and [Westbrook] should come in and be able to be in a familiar situation," he said.

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Westbrook played under Brooks for seven years in Oklahoma City and rose to stardom as one of the most electric players in the league. Pack also worked as an assistant for the Thunder from 2013-15, giving Westbrook another ally as he settles in to his third team in three years.


The Wizards adopted a new offensive philosophy last season and it did wonders for them. They began to play faster with more side-to-side ball movement, three-point shooting and high-pick-and-roll opportunities for Bradley Beal. The Wizards finished the year as the No. 7 scoring offense in the NBA and with even more weapons than last season on the roster, there's definitely more room for growth on that end of the floor. 

The fact that the coach who helped institute Washington's new offense knows how to coach Westbrook is simply better news for the Wizards faithful. 

"At the end of the day I don't think it should be a situation where it's so unfamiliar," Smith said. "[Westbrook] knows a couple of our coaches and our offense is very ball-movement friendly, speed and playing fast and him and John are two of the fastest players in the NBA."

Westbrook and Beal still have to learn to play off one another to form an imposing one-two-punch on the perimeter, but in a year with a shortened training camp and runway leading up to the first regular-season game, Westbrook won't have as steep a learning curve at the start.

And while Wall's particular skill set is hard to replicate, Washington may have acquired the one player who can.

"It's like moving one puzzle piece and moving another one in," Smith said.