At one point, Russell Westbrook was producing some of the most historic statistical seasons in NBA history. Most remember Russ for being a triple-double machine, and years later, it’s almost as if his career went the opposite direction.
Westbrook’s Thunder Years
Russ started his career alongside one of the best young squads in the NBA. The Thunder of the early 2010s were a dynamic team with the trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Westbrook. This team climbed their way to the 2011 NBA Championship series and lost to the Miami Heat.
Westbrook broke out as a superstar in the league after his only Finals appearance. He became Durant’s essential number two, but it wasn’t till after KD left that Russ blossomed.
The year KD left for the Warriors saw Westbrook have a season for the ages! In the 2016-17 season, Westbrook averaged the first triple-double season since Oscar Robertson in 1971. Westbrook ended up winning the MVP award.
Westbrook would go on to have two more straight seasons of averaging a triple-double in a season as a Thunder. After the 2019 season, his time as one of the all-time greatest Thunder players came to a conclusion.
Westbrook was traded to the Houston Rockets to pair up with his former teammate James Harden. Everyone was really excited to see these two ex-teammates back and able to play at a much more mature level. Things didn’t work out great, and after an early loss in the playoffs to the Lakers in 2020, the Rockets fell apart.
Westbrook was traded to the Washington Wizards. Still able to average another triple-double season, his tenure as a Wizard was short-lived after a blockbuster trade to the Lakers.
The expectation was that Westbrook would be the missing piece for the Lakers to be a dominant team. This did not go as planned and saw the eventual firing of Coach Frank Vogel.
This was when things got really interesting. Westbrook, at this point, was looked at as a very different player than his prime years. Once joining the Lakers, his gameplay got very sloppy, and with the number of missed shots and turnovers, he eventually found his way to being a 6th man.
Westbrook also struggled to lead this Lakers team with the absence of Lebron James and Anthony Davis for an excessive amount of games.
After this disappointing time with the Lakers, Westbrook was again shipped off, this time to the Utah Jazz. Right after this trade, Westbrook and the Jazz had a buyout deal. This now has led Westbrook to join the Los Angeles Clippers!
The saga of Rusell Westbrook has had a great number of twists and turns. It should be interesting to see the dynamic change with the Lakers and Clippers now. Westbrook could find his identity again by linking with former teammate Paul George.
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