One day people will look back on NBA star Russell Westbrook’s career and realize he was never given the respect he deserves. From having arguably the most outstanding individual season in NBA history to average a triple-double in four straight seasons, NBA star Russell Westbrook is one of the most accomplished players of all time. Somehow, it seems as if people are still questioning his legacy.
Obviously, the Lakers’ experiment did not go as planned, but Westbrook was definitely looked at as the scapegoat in that situation. He is a player who relies on his athleticism and ability to get to the rim. The Lakers were surrounding him with too many other players who have similar play styles. Throughout his entire career, Westbrook has had an offensive usage rate of 31.9 percent. For Westbrook to be at his best, he would need the ball in his hands.
Even before NBA star Russell Westbrook had his brief playing career with the Lakers, he was viewed as the scapegoat with the Houston Rockets when he played alongside James Harden. During the 2019-20 NBA season, Westbrook had a usage rate of 34.4 percent while Harden’s usage rate was 36 percent. There was just too much isolation basketball. As a result, team chemistry just never developed.
People were so quick to blame Westbrook and even Harden for that matter. However, this team was just never put in a fair place to succeed. At some point, management and coaching needed to be held accountable, but that was never the case. Similar to the Lakers’ situation, everyone was quick to blame Westbrook, but the Rockets’ leadership did not put a team around them that fit their play styles.
There have often been times when the media questioned Russell Westbrook as a floor general. However, NBA All-Stars Paul George and Bradley Beal each statistically had the best seasons of their career playing with Westbrook. In the 2020-21 season, Beal shot a career-high 48.5 percent from the field, while also averaging the most points in his career at 31.3 points per game. With that, in George’s last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, he finished third in MVP voting while also scoring a career-high of 28 points per game.
One of the best all-around team players
George had even said publicly that Westbrook is the best teammate he has ever had. If the players he spent every day in the locker room with have nothing negative to say about him, it makes no sense that the media has portrayed this image of Westbrook being a terrible teammate.
Not to mention, Kevin Durant had his only MVP season playing with Russell Westbrook. There is this also misconception that Westbrook “stat pads,” which could not be further from the truth. Anytime Westbrook is there on the court, he gives it his maximum effort to go after every rebound and loose ball.
NBA star Russell Westbrook really changed the notion of players getting triple-doubles and made it become normal. That is why people are so quick to say he is a “stat-pads.” He was doing something the league has never seen before. It seems that some will never give him the credit he deserves.
Even looking now at the later years of his career, Westbrook has done nothing to make it seem like he is a bad teammate. He made sacrifices during his time with the Lakers when he agreed to come off the bench. He thrived in that role and at one point, he was in the running for the Sixth Man of the Year award.
Joining forces once again with Paul George
Obviously, when it came time to the trade deadline, the Lakers dealt him since he did not fit in that system He later signed with the Los Angeles Clippers. The second he was waived by the Utah Jazz, there was a report that George was already recruiting him to join forces once again. This refutes any idea that George did not like playing with Westbrook during his stint with the Thunder.
Coming into this situation where he would be playing with two very ball-dominant players in Kawhi Leonard and George, Westbrook was aware of his role. He has contributed in a number of ways. In his first 14 games with the Clippers, Westbrook is averaging 14.1 points, five rebounds, and seven assists per game while also shooting a very efficient 46 percent from the field.
While the Clippers are 6-8 in those games, a number of those losses came down to one possession. Meanwhile, with George dealing with an unfortunate injury at the moment, it is expected that Westbrook’s role with the team increases. Despite the number of losses, Westbrook’s play has exceeded all expectations, especially from those in the media.
With that being said, just looking at the entire trajectory of NBA star Russell Westbrook’s career, it makes no sense how people are still doubting his on-court abilities. His shooting was never a strength of his, but like all NBA players, he has his flaws. He is a player who relies on his strength and ability to get to the rim and that is when he is at his best.
It does not make much sense how a player who has been given All-NBA honors nine times in his career, along with owning two NBA scoring titles and being recognized as a part of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team might never get the respect he deserves. The one thing the public can never doubt on is his effort and dedication to the game of basketball. One day people will look back and wish they appreciated his game a little more.
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