As NBA players adapt to the league’s new rules that no longer reward offensive players for committing “non-basketball moves” to draw fouls against defenders, the preseason has been a breeding ground for growing pains. On Tuesday evening, Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook was the latest victim of the amended protocols.
Early in the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors, he baited Andrew Wiggins into biting on a shot fake and initiated contact in hopes of landing two free throws. Instead, the whistles stayed silent and Westbrook’s jumper clanked off the back rim.
Following the game, Westbrook, a notoriously poor outside shooter, said he doesn’t deem these updated rules to be a notable adjustment for him.
“Ain’t too many people flying at me, so I’ll be alright,” he said with a smile and laugh.
When a member of the media replied, “you got one today,” Westbrook playfully retorted, “I know, I was surprised.”
“Not much of an adjustment for me,” he continued, “but guys who actually use it all the time, there definitely could probably be an adjustment for them.”
Westbrook will not be the final player to go viral for this newfound gaffe, but he may be the only one who can actually say there won’t be a considerable adjustment and have his words ring true. He is an excellent player in many respects. Shooting gravity is not one of them, and his cognizance of that provided a joyful interaction Tuesday night.