Why the Chicago Bulls shouldn’t sign Russell Westbrook: No need for bench creation
After being moved to a bench role by Darvin Ham and finding a bit of a groove, Russell Westbrook might be a bench player at this point in his career.
The Chicago Bulls are 23rd in bench scoring this season, averaging just 29.9 bench points per game according to Statmuse. Despite this, the bench is sixth in plus-minus via NBA.com’s tracking data and with a roster optimized toward the starting lineup, this is quite a surprise.
If Westbrook were to join the Bulls, he’d be coming in as a guard off the bench, and with Coby White, Alex Caruso, and Goran Dragic already occupying that spot, I struggle to see where he adds value.
The Bulls are near the middle of the pack in pace, sitting 14th in the league per Basketball-Reference’s tracking data but that’s no surprise given Chicago’s best players like to operate in the halfcourt.
One thing Russell Westbrook still does at a high level is push the pace and it would add an element to this roster that it simply hasn’t had before. In the past, Westbrook has been at the top of the league in terms of transition frequency and efficiency but this season, while his +1.6 percent transition plays is in the 86th percentile among guards, he’s registering -6.3 points per 100 transition plays, a freezing cold 28th percentile among guard via Cleaning the Glass.
But that number isn’t zero and we’ve seen several teams talk themselves into the Westbrook experience because he sells tickets, he sells jerseys, and he finds himself on the NBA Instagram page every now and again with a flashy dunk.
Maybe that’s enough for Jerry Reinsdorf.