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NBA - 5 questions about Russell Westbrook and John Wall's trade between the Rockets and Wizards: Two problem cases, no solution

What does the deal mean for the Washington Wizards?

Most recently, Wall, Bradley Beal and GM Sheppard publicly assured that the star duo was looking forward to a season together in the US capital and was ready to fight for the playoffs. Sheppard repeatedly ruled out a trade.

Nevertheless, rumors to the contrary persisted. After initial speculation about a Westbrook-Wall swap, the latter is said to have requested a trade himself after hearing his name in the media. In addition, Wall is said to have not been particularly happy that Sheppard proclaimed Beal, and not him, as a franchise star.

Now it is undisputed that Beal is number one. Similar to the situation in Houston, GM Sheppard is also concerned with keeping the team star happy and thus minimizing the risk that the 27-year-old will want to leave. But Washington will also have to fight for the playoffs for this. After the many open question marks at Wall, the Wizards seem to be making a somewhat safer bet with Westbrook.

The 2017 MVP made it to the All-NBA Third Team last season, his weak appearances in the bubble shouldn't be overrated, after all, Westbrook had a COVID infection and a thigh injury behind him. Previously, in the final weeks before the Corona-related season interruption, he acted at perhaps the best level of his career and in a phase of more than 20 games when the Rockets played without a classic center, 32.3 points at 53.5 percent from the field .

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Westbrook at the Wizards: does it fit the schedule?

At Beal's side, Westbrook is certainly not a perfect fit because, as already mentioned, he brings a similar package and thus similar problems as Wall. Although he does not have the same injury history, Westbrook is older (32), has also been beaten several times in the past and is also dependent on his athleticism. The Guard will probably not age as well as, for example, Chris Paul.

With Beal off the ball and Davis Bertans on top of that, Westbrook will at least have a lot of shooting around him, which, as seen in Houston, will only help him. However, the wizards will mainly want to see the ball in Beal's hands. How head coach Scott Brooks, who previously worked with Westbrook at OKC, manages this will be interesting to watch. Especially after Shams heard that Russ wanted a similar dominant role in a team after the Rockets chapter as he did in Thunder days.

It is also questionable how Westbrook fits into the timeline of an otherwise very young Wizards team. Washington will need patience for the development of talents like Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija or the two Germans Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga. In the short term, the chances of the playoffs in the east are definitely there, mainly thanks to the introduction of the play-in tournament, but they will not shake the east throne with Westbrook either. Is that really enough to make Beal happy?