After much anticipation and recruiting, Russell Westbrook is going to sign with the Los Angeles Clippers. The move will undoubtedly attract a lot of skepticism as Westbrook’s tenure with the Lakers was arguably the nadir of his Hall of Fame career.

There is certainly cause for hope among Clippers fans, however. He possesses certain intangibles like grit and a high motor that tend to translate anywhere, especially on title contenders who already feel solid about their core. Westbrook reportedly has the inside track to be a starter, which should be seen as a positive for a team that has risen to fourth in the Western Conference with inferior point guard play than what the former MVP could contribute.

Westbrook is not going to turn back the clock to 2016-17, but that is not what the Clippers need. Kawhi Leonard actually has gone back in time to pre-injury form. They just need a little extra spark. Sure, there will be many who find Westbrook to be combustible rather than a spark plug, but he fits this LA franchise much better than he did their roommate.

The all-in Clippers clearly view Westbrook as a key part of their NBA title aspirations. We will break down what can be expected from the polarizing athlete as he begins his road to redemption. Here are three bold predictions for Russell Westbrook now that he has signed with the Clippers.

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Russell Westbrook will shoot over 45 percent from the field

What has been not so subtly glossed over to this point are the shooting struggles that have always been a big feature of the Westbrook package. He shoots 3-pointers at a clip of just over 30 percent in his career and was below 42 percent from the floor in 52 games with the Lakers this season. In fact, he has averaged 45 percent or better from the field just three times in 15 years.

The veteran only has to do it over the course of 20 games with the Clippers, though. He has built-in chemistry with Paul George despite the two not having playoff success on the Oklahoma City Thunder. Him and Leonard will allow Westbrook to lean into the role of playmaker that the team has been needing for a while. But when he does take his opportunities, he should be set up for success due to LA’s ability to spread out defenders with an underrated support system.

Opponents will still have to concern themselves with the Clips’ two-headed monster as well as Norman Powell, Terance Mann and Nicolas Batum. Adding in Westbrook could allow all the effective singular parts to gel together into a cohesive and deadly unit. The end result should be the most efficient Russ in three seasons.

Westbrook helps the Clippers get the No. 2 seed in West

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The Clippers were already clicking, and he could give them even more of a boost. He has been through it all but still plays with an intensity matched by few others. His energy could be infectious to the rest of the group.

Now that we have attempted to alleviate your concerns about the new addition, let us tackle the other part of this No. 2 seed equation. The Clippers (33-28) have the second most difficult schedule remaining, according to Tankathon. The Memphis Grizzlies (35-22) have the seventh easiest. The Sacramento Kings have the fourth hardest and are only one game ahead of LA for third, so we’ll leave them out of this.

That schedule will likely give Ja Morant even more reason to feel good about the West. He shouldn’t. It is very up for grabs, and the Grizzlies have not been the same team without Steven Adams. Now, he will be back but is expected out for this next group of games that includes the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets and the revamped Lakers. They play the Clippers on March 5th.

Full disclosure, the Clippers have a tough stretch out of the All-star break as well. Momentum is still on their side, though. The four-game deficit can be made up, especially with Westbrook’s addition to the backcourt.

Russell Westbrook will significantly increase free throw percentage

It is hard to remember a time when Westbrook regularly connected on more than 80 percent of his free throw attempts. He has hovered around the mid-60s in four of the last five seasons (career-low 65.5 percent 2022-23). He might just need some peace of mind and to feel wanted. Both things he has possibly lacked in recent years but should have waiting for him with the Los Angeles Clippers.

George really vouched for Russ. That is something that the nine-time All-Star will not forget. He is seen as a player who could help put the team over the top and into the NBA Finals. He shouldn’t forget that either. Westbrook should be feeling the positive vibes from a franchise that, while being way, way beyond the luxury cap, has been operating fairly soundly.

Tyronn Lue appears to have the respect and trust of his players. He already has a ring. Leonard has two. All of the elements to make Russell Westbrook comfortable are present in this organization.

Time will tell if this experiment is a rousing success or further negativity clouding Westbrook.