I’ll start off by saying that I grew up a Sam Cassell fan growing up as a teenager. I enjoyed watching him on the Milwaukee Bucks starting alongside Gary Payton and saw how much of an impact he made on the Minnesota Timberwolves when he came over to team up with Kevin Garnett and Latrell Sprewell. Even though Sam Cassell was in the latter stage of his career he still managed to quarterback the Timberwolves’s offense to a tea and gave them a reliable second option behind Kevin Garnett. They lost in the Western Conference Finals the year 2004 at the hands of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal lead Lakers but it was a joy to finally watch Kevin Garnett competing deep into the playoffs for the first time, he was a always the lone superstar who did not have much around him in the early 2000’s.
On to the Washington Wizards who fired Scott Brooks, that shocked me but than again the Washington Wizards had no business falling so far behind early on in the season. They had to go super-hot in the second half of the season and depend on Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal to play at surreal levels just to win ball games, when you have the 2 arguably top 15 players in the NBA there should be no reason for you to be a bottom dweller let alone go out so easy in the first round to a Philadelphia 76ers team who has had identity problems over the past 3-4 seasons with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. So what could Sam Cassell do any different for the Washington Wizards? Well if you ever get a chance to check out some Sam Cassell highlights you will see at the moderate pace he played at, never rushing and would just get to his spots and kill opposing defenses with mid range jumpers off the post or face-up.
I’m wondering how Sam Cassell would impact Russell Westbrook mentally and how he could get Russell Westbrook to slow down and make better decisions in half-court sets. I’ve always thought Westbrook’s biggest issue is he wears his emotions on his sleeves, he gets carried away throughout spurts of a game and makes reckless decisions which result in him turning the ball over by dribbling through traffic and shooting ill-advised pull up jumpers. If the Washington Wizards plan on going forward with Russell Westbrook as their starting point-guard next season success will start with him, just ask Kevin Durant how much of an impact Westbrook’s decision making had on the Oklahoma City Thunder blowing a 3-1 lead to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 Western Conference Finals. Just like Kevin Durant had no control over the decisions Russell Westbrook made neither does fellow Bradley Beal who is recognized as the franchise player of the Washington Wizards.
If you are the Washington Wizards you should be watching the success the Phoenix Suns have been able to have this season with Chris Paul and Devin Booker and be looking to mirror them. Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook are practically on the same level as Devin Booker and Chris Paul as players they just need a coach that could get them both on the same page and get them to develop an unselfish approach to the game a lot like Devin Booker and Chris Paul have on the Phoenix Suns. The Washington Wizards have young pieces in Rui Hachimura,Deni Avdija,Daniel Gafford,and Thomas Bryant who could make the leaps Deandre Ayton,Mikal Bridges,Cam Johnson,and Cameron Payne made this season. Obviously you attribute the Phoenix Suns’s success to General Manager James Jones bringing over Chris Paul and also signing Jae Crowder who Paul wanted in Phoenix with him, just saying the Washington Wizards have the correct blueprint they just need a coach like Sam Cassell to put it altogether.
For once it would be interesting to see a former point guard coach Russell Westbrook, was he really supposed to listen to BIlly Donovan or Scott Brooks and by no means do I mean any disrespect towards Scott Brooks who was a former Coach of the Year and Billy Donovan who was extraordinary coaching the Florida Gators in the NCAA I just believe Russell Westbrook needs guidance from someone who not only was successful at the NBA level as a point guard but also won championships which Sam Cassell did with the Houston Rockets back to back seasons 1994 and 1995. Not to mention Sam Cassell was known for being ridiculously clutch and called upon to execute in close games, that is where Russell Westbrook struggles most. Westbrook is the total opposite from Cassell, opposing teams want him on the floor in 4th quarters in close games because they know he is not a knock down shooter and his decision making is poor but that is where Sam Cassell will come in for Russell Westbrook next season.
To conclude Russell Westbrook doesn’t need much tweaking to become a winner, he already has the right mentality and gives all the effort possible on the court. He already has a reliable post game and isolation game to go with a respectable jump-shot he just needs Sam Cassell to direct him throughout games when to be aggressive and when to look to get his teammates shots. One thing about Sam Cassell is he was always composed throughout a whole game, you could never get in his head mentally and that is where he must aid Westbrook who tends to let his frustrations on the court hamper his team. Maybe have Sam Cassell help sharpen up his shooting mechanics and Russell Westbrook could be an MVP candidate next season for the first time since 2017, we shall see within the next week if Sam Cassell will be on the sidelines barking at Russ next season, till next time.