Russell Westbrook Stats
- Height / Weight
- 75 / 200 lbs.
- Date of Birth (Age)
- 11/12/1988 (32)
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It's funny that every year at the NBA Draft, once the end of the guaranteed money and live appearances arrives at the end of the first round, everybody tunes out and refers to the 60th pick as "Mr.Irrelevant". That's not very accurate though, is it? Speaking historically, the title of "Mr.Irrelevant" could just as easily be applied to each pick in the draft, as organizations differ greatly in their evaluation of talent and their own needs, particularly in a year without the NCAA tournament. The nickname just doesn't reflect how basketball works anymore. Executives strategically stockpile second-round draft picks for the less burdensome financial obligations, and organizations in down years get super creative to field a team on a budget. With the right situation, the right under-the-radar player can be an immediate breakout.The last few seasons alone have seen scores of second-rounders and UDFAs who wasted no time in making a name for themselves, and the increasing prominence of the G-League and other alternative paths to the pros should only keep this trending upward.We are going to discuss a handful of undrafted free agent signees who, given their individual skill set and circumstances, should be on the radar of Fantasy Basketball Managers heading into the season. EJ Onu (C, DAL) (Notable UDFA signings: Eugene Omoruyi)(2021 Draft Picks: N/A)The Dallas Mavericks ranked fifth-worst in the NBA last season in blocks per game (4.3), and 6'11, 240-lb. EJ Onu could be a sneaky way of bridging the gap. At NAIA Shawnee State, Onu won a national title, 2021 First Team All-American honors, the Conference POY award, and the Conference Defensive POY...three times. He blocked 529 shots in his career and averaged 5.1 blocks per game over his last two seasons when he also shot 82 for 241 from deep (34%) and 137 for 191 from the line (71.7%), complete with 16.9 points and 8.1 boards per game as a senior.Amazingly, Onu averaged about 30 minutes per game over those last two years, and as a former high school track athlete in the 4x400 meter relay (umm, wow), he seems well up to the task of playing extended minutes and blocking shots the whole time. As a highly gifted and unusual athlete for his size and skill, EJ Onu won't stay in the dark for long if the Mavs need his interior defense and floor-stretching touch. Keep an eye on Eugene Omoruyi from Oregon too, a 6'6 forward with a 7'1 wingspan, which he puts to good use with his active perimeter defense and improving touch from all over the floor. John Petty (SG, DET)(Notable UDFA signings: Anthony Tarke, Spencer Littleson, Chris Smith)(2021 Draft Picks: Cade Cunningham, JT Thor, Isaiah Livers, Luke Garza)The Piston rotations have mostly been dominated by a group of 18-23-year-olds at varying stages of development, so this team is only getting more exciting as they add young talent and watch the pieces gradually fall into place. It's a great landing spot for Alabama alumnus John Petty, who probably slipped past the second round due to poor combine measurements. Petty averaged double-digit points all four years at Alabama and put up 13.5 points, 5.8 boards, 2.2 assists, and 1.2 steals over his last two seasons (61 games) while shooting 162 for 401 from long-range (40.4%).Overall, the Huntsville native made 311 out of 814 threes in a robust 3,968 NCAA minutes, and while he can be inconsistent at times inside the three-point line, he also consistently knocked down voluminous threes at an efficient clip for four straight years in the SEC. He's a capable rebounder for 6'5, he has finally seen his turnover rate drop from 18% to 14.6%, and his steal rate improved every season in college, finishing at 2.2% with a 1.8/1.9 OWS/DWS in 2021. For a Detroit squad that finished bottom-eight last year in three-pointers and three-point percentage, John Petty will let it fly when an opportunity strikes, and his reliable long-range scoring goes a long way towards gaining traction with a regular spot. Spencer Littleson of Toledo is also interesting to watch as one of the nation's most dead-eye three-point shooters (103 for 218 in 2021, 47.2%) with workable defensive ability, as well as Anthony Tarke, last year's MEAC POY and DPOY at Coppin State who does work in all statistical categories. Joel Ayayi (PG/SG, LAL)(Notable UDFA signings: Mac McClung, Austin Reaves)(2021 Draft Picks: N/A)The Lakers brought in Russell Westbrook for LeBron and AD, Alex Caruso just signed a big deal with Chicago, and seemingly the rest of the team was either traded or is up for free agency. Either way, there will be opportunities in LA, because someone has to go alongside this "Big Three" and reap the rewards of their elevated play. Joel Ayayi could be the next player to emerge big-time out of the Laker reserves after a great final two seasons at Gonzaga where he averaged 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game.Ayayi easily attained career-best true shooting (66.5%) and effective field goal (64.7%) rates this past year after drilling 37 of 95 (38.9%) from three for the Zags, and he always took care of the ball in college, notching only 99 turnovers in 88 career games. While it might look easy to take care of the ball and hit threes in Gonzaga's offense, there is something to having experience at playing on offense at that high of a level, and that experience has prepared Jay Ayayi to start adjusting to the next level of competition and navigate the learning curve (with physical tools that make the adjusting easier). Also worth keeping an eye on: with his viral vertical leap, flashy finishes, and villainous potential, Mac McClung is an obvious choice for the Los Angeles Lakers, as it isn't a stretch to imagine the fans getting behind him as the next cult-favorite. Moses Wright (PF, TOR)(Notable UDFA signings: Justin Champagnie)(2021 Draft Picks: Scottie Barnes, Dalano Banton, David Johnson)Moses Wright had himself one of the best breakout stories of the 2020-21 season and, against all odds, is named the ACC POY in his final season at Georgia Tech. The 6'9, 233-lb. Wright stepped to the forefront for the Jackets, averaging 17.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.6 blocks in 35.3 minutes a game while shooting 12 for 29 from three (41.4%). Across the statistical board; Moses is either doing it at a high level or he's quickly improving on it, and the 7'2 wingspan keeps his defense all the more dangerous on day one as a professional. Toronto is going through a strange period, but they have an interesting selection of forwards, and they get very creative in how to use them together. Not to mention that Toronto had a lot of injuries last year, which led to a few particular rookies making debuts. Keep an eye on Moses Wright this year, and let's not sleep on him again. McKinley Wright IV (PG, MIN)(Notable UDFA signings: Isaiah Miller)(2021 Draft Picks: N/A)Another player who surprised me by going undrafted, McKinley Wright of Colorado signs with the Timberwolves, last year's youngest roster in the NBA, while facing obvious challenges. He's undersized even for a point guard, he lacks in explosiveness, and he shot inconsistently from three over his career with a cumulative four-year rate of 32.8%. What he does having going for him: he played 131 NCAA games (4,333 MP) and has developed an astute basketball IQ over that time; he was crazily consistent all four seasons at Colorado and averaged 14.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game for his career; and he lowered his turnover rate last year from 18.6% to 13.7%. McKinley Wright is a sharp, well-versed guard who was slept-on in his time at Colorado, and he should have plenty of opportunities to demonstrate his value for Minnesota with the roster youth and lesser competition. Chandler Vaudrin (SF, CLE)(Notable UDFA signings: N/A)(2021 Draft Picks: Evan Mobley)Chandler Vaudrin is a 6'7, 210-lb., 24-year-old small forward out of DII Walsh University and Winthrop University, so absolutely perfect as a Cavs UDFA signing. Vaudrin took home a lot of Big South hardware last season after averaging 12.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.2 steals in 31.6 minutes per game, going 18 for 48 from three (37.5%) with a 55.7% true shooting rate and 50.9% effective field goal rate. He did average a 22.9% turnover rate for his career, but that is a price you pay when a team's whole offense is running through you, and his 35.5% and 2.4% career assist and steal rates help to make up the difference. As far as the other forwards on Cleveland's depth chart, Vaudrin's passing and defense set him apart from the crowd in key ways, and his competition for PT is far from immovable. A lot of sleepers contributed some pretty great games last season after they worked their way into the Cavs rotation, and a player with Chandler Vaudrin's ability to facilitate offense and lock down the perimeter feels fantastically in pattern. Honorable Mentions:Boston Celtics(Sam Hauser, Carlik Jones), Brooklyn Nets (David Duke Jr.), Golden State Warriors (Derrick Alston, Colbey Ross, Jaquori McLaughlin), Houston Rockets (Matthew Hurt), Indiana Pacers (Duane Washington, Terry Taylor), Miami Heat (Marcus Garrett, Micah Potter, Javonte Smart, Dru Smith, D.J. Stewart Jr., RJ Nembhard), Memphis Grizzlies (Yves Pons, Olivier Sarr), New Orleans Pelicans (Jose Alvarado), New York Knicks (Aamir Simms), Philadelphia 76ers (Aaron Henry, Daishen Nix), Portland Trailblazers (Mark Vital, Trendon Watford), Sacramento Kings (DJ Steward), Utah Jazz (MaCio Teague), &theWashington Wizards(Jay Huff, Jordan Goodwin).
The Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards have officially agreed to a trade that will send guard Russell Westbrook to the Lakers for a package that includes Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the No. 22 pick in this year's draft. The former NBA MVP will join a Lakers team that also includes LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It's too early to know how this deal would impact the fantasy outlook of the players sent to Washington, especially with the Wizards still potentially looking to deal Bradley Beal away. On the Lakers side, this is an odd fit, as the team needed shooting more than they needed another ball-handler. But Westbrook will take pressure off of James, which will likely hurt James' fantasy value just a little bit. As for Westbrook, he's been able to be a triple-double machine in basically all of his NBA stops so far and should be an intriguing early-round fantasy pick on a Lakers team with depth concerns, even with James and Davis demanding touches.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Wizards are reportedly deep in talks to send Wizards guard Russell Westbrook to the Lakers for a package that would include Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and a first round pick. The deal isn't official yet and things could potentially fall apart still, but it sounds more and more like Westbrook will be plying his trade in Staples Center next season. It's too early to know how this deal would impact the fantasy outlook of the players sent to Washington, especially with the Wizards still potentially looking to deal Bradley Beal away. On the Lakers side, this is a weird fit, but Westbrook would be able to relieve some of LeBron James' on-ball minutes. A triple-double machine, he'd likely be counted on to play heavy minutes on a Lakers team that could have depth concerns next season, making him an intriguing early-round fantasy pick, even with James and Anthony Davis there.
Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook could be on the move, with the triple-double king recently linked to the Lakers. As L.A. looks to win another title, the franchise has a massive hole at the point guard position, a void that Westbrook could convincingly fill. With the Wizards looking toward the future, a deal involving Dennis Schroder, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Kyle Kuzma could be in the works, which would ultimately put an end to the former MVP's stint in the nation's capital. The 32-year-old veteran averaged a mind-boggling 22.2 points, 11.7 assists, and 11.5 boards during his inaugural season in Washington. Westbrook would undoubtedly see a reduction on the scoring end if a deal happens, especially playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, he should still be considered a top fantasy option heading into the new campaign based on his ability to impact multiple statistical categories.