Following another double-digit loss, the Washington Wizards are in the running for being the NBA's most disappointing team this season. Among myriads of factors, Russell Westbrook's poor performance may be one of the biggest reasons why this team is underperforming so harshly.
The 9x All-Star has seen a dip in almost every statistical category and is shooting just 37% this season.
Apparently, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe, it's something that executives around the association may have predicted years ago.
"For years, executives within the league warned Westbrook might be one of those players -- reliant on athleticism, without a reliable jumper -- who falls off fast. What we have seen in Washington is either the beginning of that accelerated drop-off, or a blip of severe underperformance.
Every Westbrook stat is down, save perhaps the most alarming: turnovers. Westbrook is coughing up a ghastly 5.2 per game, putting him on pace for the fourth recorded five-plus-turnovers season in league history. (Westbrook has one of the prior three, along with James Harden and DeMarcus Cousins.) An astonishing number have been unforced. Westbrook seems to have lost control of his handle, almost as if he has the yips. He is regularly bonking the ball off various extremities."
Westbrook is far from the Wizards' only issue. They have little depth off the bench and are one of the worst defensive teams in the NBA.
Still, there is no doubt that Russ' slump has really held them back. As their second-best player and floor general, it's up to him to orchestrate the offense and create opportunities for his club -- two things he hasn't exactly done very well so far.
Whether or not things will get better, though, still remains to be seen.