No. 4 reason: Will prepare Cade Cunningham to play with Jaden Ivey
One could argue that Russell Westbrook is what the Detroit Pistons want Jaden Ivey to eventually be (except be a better outside shooter).
Ivey and Westbrook have similar games: Amazing speed, love to attack the rim and great athleticism. Ivey, right now, is not a great outside shooter, and we know neither is Westbrook.
But Ivey is just 20, so he may not be not ready for the bright lights of of being a starter in the NBA. Having Westbrook on the Pistons, allows Ivey to learn the ropes at his own pace, with no pressure.
Let’s be honest, for the 2022-23 season, Russell Westbrook will be a better player than Jaden Ivey. It will make Cade Cunningham a better player to be paired with a Westbrook. As a prideful player, he will want to make sure he can stay with him.
Westbrook is on an expiring contract so, after this season is over, Cunningham will be better prepared when a more experienced Ivey joins him in the starting lineup, on how to play with a fellow star.
No. 3 reason: Younger Pistons players will develop faster
With basically every veteran of consequence (except maybe Cory Joseph) now in Los Angeles, if the Westbrook trade goes through, a lot of the younger players will need to step up.
If Olynyk and Noel are gone, the logjam at center problem is solved. But Isaiah Stewart and the highly paid Marvin Bagley III will need to step up.
Olynyk was a good facilitator and calming influence on the team, while Noel is a standout defensive player and rim-protector. Someone needs to make up for their absence.
Stewart is a great switcher on defense but he is not a big shot blocker. Bagley has never been great on defense.
But Detroit still has a player on their roster who is a rim-protector and good passing big man: Jalen Duren.
There will now be ample time to get the 18-year-old some valuable NBA playing time, instead being put in the G League. It can only benefit a player with potential like Duren.
Alec Burks leaving now opens things up for Hamidou Diallo, who has played well for Detroit when given the playing time.
Of course, if the young players struggle, Westbrook can simply take over a game, he has done that plenty of times before. That relieves the pressure on the youngsters.
The Westbrook trade would be a positive for player development.