Categories NBA

NBA Championship Odds: Has Clippers’ Russell Westbrook Signing Moved the Needle?

Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted this morning that the Utah Jazz have officially completed Russell Westbrook‘s contract buyout, and Westbrook has subsequently chosen to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. Has the Westbrook signing had an impact on the NBA championship odds among Western Conference teams? Let’s take a look.

NBA Championship Odds: Russell Westbrook Joins Clippers

Here are the latest NBA championship odds, per BetMGM:

The short answer is, no, the odds have largely been stagnant since Benjy Sabitt broke down the post-deadline NBA championship odds. The Clippers have stayed at +1000, the Bucks and Nuggets also not changed, and the Celtics and Suns have seen tiny adjustments. But the rankings remain the same — the Clippers are behind the Suns and Nuggets but ahead of the Grizzlies, Warriors and Mavericks.

So essentially, Vegas no longer views Westbrook as a needle mover. It should come as no surprise that Westbrook has not improved the Clippers’ odds, though a pessimist could view the signing as harmful the Clippers’ chances somewhat given Westbrook’s poor shooting and rigid play style.

Even though he accepted a bench role with the Lakers — and was for awhile leading the race for Sixth Man of the Year — Westbrook was still maddeningly wont to take over games, even on a team that includes LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Now he has to share the floor with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on a Clippers team that has found some consistency as a top-4 team in the West.

Also, for what it’s worth, NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award odds have not budged since the news of Westbrook’s signing. He remains fourth at +850 despite now having a landing spot.

The Clippers do have some gaps in their rotation; they dealt Luke Kennard and John Wall at the deadline, and Wall was giving them a little over 20 point guard minutes off the bench, albeit largely ineffective ones. They did, however, add Eric Gordon and Bones Hyland (a Westbrook-adjacent player), so Westbrook is not even a guarantee to be the first guard off the bench.

All told, the Clippers know that Westbrook at least has the confidence to run their offense if and when George and Leonard need to rest. He ideally will not be in closing lineups as Los Angeles pushes for a playoff run, but he may be able to steer the ship in a pinch, something that Wall was not capable of doing.

Featured Articles

Related Articles