How To Build A Team Around Russell Westbrook

Throughout his basketball career, Russell Westbrook has been the type of player who likes to have the ball consistently in his hands. For instance, Russell would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then a big man would set a screen. Once the pick was set Westbrook would pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action, for instance, if the defender went under the screen, Russell would go over it and take the wide-open shot. On the other hand, if the defender went over the screen, Westbrook would go over it as well and drive towards the basket where he would score or pass the ball to the player next to him or to the perimeter depending on whether he was double teamed or not.

However, there are some occasions when Russell Westbrook will wave off his teammates and choose to play isolation basketball with the defender. For example,  Westbrook would dribble the ball to about the free throw line and pay attention to his defender to determine the next course of action. If the defender gave him a few feet of space, he would pull up to shoot the wide-open mid-range jumper. On the other hand, if the defender played him tight, he will attempt to drive towards the basket for an easy basket, to draw a foul or attract a double team. When he invites a double team,  Russell will kick it out to the perimeter with hopes of getting a three-pointer for his team. Not only does Russell Westbrook pay attention to the distance between the defender and himself but he also pays attention to the size of the defender. For instance, if the defender is smaller than him, Russell will attempt to post up and back him down a few feet to shoot a turn around jumper.

Due to this, a team would have to surround Russell Westbrook with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. However, not only will a team have to acquire three-point shooter but they need to find players who are outstanding defenders. This is because Westbrook has developed a habit of just watching the ball during defensive possessions. Due to this, he loses track of his assignment when not playing on-ball defense which forces the other players to decide to rotate or leave him open.

As a result of this, a team should target players like Matthew Dellavedova, Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Tony Snell and Paul George. All of these players shoot above 36 percent from behind the arc for their careers and are known as excellent defenders. For example, these players will crowd the space of the ball handler forcing them to pick up the dribble and turn sideways. Once this happens, they will go for the steal or run to a spot on the same side the ball handler is looking at to cut off the potential pathway. After this happens, the ball handler has two choices, take a contested shot or pass the ball.

In conclusion, if a team were to fill out the roster with those type of players, it would give Russell Westbrook the best opportunity to make a deep playoff run and possibly a championship. This is because  a team can put Westbrook on the weakest offensive player and lessen the risk of being hurt by his ball watching.

How To Build A Team Around LeBron James

Throughout the past seven NBA seasons, teams who obtained the services of LeBron James have incorporated an offensive system; that is meant to showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Furthermore, on occasion, the team will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

Due to this, a team would have to surround LeBron with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. However, not only will a team have to acquire three-point shooter but they need to find players who are outstanding defenders. This is because LeBron uses defensive possessions to catch his breath to have enough energy for the next offensive possession. For instance, James will take the weakest offensive player on the opposing team and stand near the painted area until a shot is taken. Once the shot is taken, he will move towards the rim to get the rebound and start the next offensive possession. Unfortunately, James’s defensive strategy means that he can’t be counted on to provide adequate help defense if necessary.

As a result of this, a team should target players like Matthew Dellavedova, Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Tony Snell and Paul George. All of these players shoot above 36 percent from behind the arc for their careers and are known as excellent defenders. For example, these players will crowd the space of the ball handler forcing them to pick up the dribble and turn sideways. Once this happens, they will go for the steal or run to a spot on the same side the ball handler is looking at to cut off the potential pathway. After this happens, the ball handler has two choices, take a contested shot or pass the ball.

In conclusion, if a team were to fill out the roster with those type of players, it would give LeBron the best opportunity to win a championship. This is because it decreases the likelihood of the team getting hurt by James taking defensive possessions off.