How Clippers signing a 9-time All-Star point guard helps the Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard
Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard / Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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Russell Westbrook shrinks the floor when Dallas Mavericks face LA Clippers

The Clippers knocked the Mavs out of the playoffs two straight years, but going small and playing five out. In 2021, it took a historic performance from Kawhi Leonard to bring LA back from a 3-2 deficit to advance. Head coach Tyronn Lue pulled all the right strings, and he won’t be afraid to go away from Westbrook if things are not working.

The nine-time All-Star is a career 30.4 percent 3-point shooter, but he can get buckets with the best of them. Westbrook is an incredible finisher around the rim, and he has no fear of attacking the paint, but he cannot space the floor. Fans remember Reggie Jackson hitting dangers against the Mavericks in the playoffs after Kawhi and Paul George drew the defense. Westbrook is not that type of player, and things get a bit easier for Dallas when he is on the floor.

The Mavericks struggle to rebound and protect the rim, so defending Westbrook will not be easy, but Dallas knows how he is going to attack. They will try to force him into mid-range pull-ups and outside shots. Westbrook never lacks confidence, and Mavs head coach Jason Kidd may be able to scheme the nine-time All-Star into slowing down LA’s offense ever so slightly.

The Clippers needed a point guard after trading away both Jackson and John Wall at the deadline, but how much will Russell Westbrook play in LA? If the Clippers try to make him a starter and finisher that could be problematic for their playoff odds.