OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook has contended with a number of narratives throughout his colorful NBA career. In year 11, those narratives are being laid to rest.
Throughout his colorful NBA career, OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook has been criticized by the media more times than one can count. The Brodie is one of the games most polarizing players who mixes ooh’s and ahh’s with what are you thinking moments in two possessions.
This season, Russ has struggled to shoot the ball but has been an outstanding leader as explained by Fox Sports Oklahoma’s Antonio Daniels.
Now approaching his 11th season in the league, the narratives surrounding Westbrook are fading into the oblivion. Let’s take a quick trip through the stories that plagued Russ and how they’ve proven to be false.
The Brodie is a bad teammate
This one largely stems from the departure of Kevin Durant and how the media pushed Russell Westbrook as the villain. From The Herd’s Colin Cowherd to Skip Bayless while on ESPN’s First Take, the Brodie was supposedly a terrible teammate causing KD to leave for Golden State.
Despite plenty of media clips showing Westbrook’s teammates sticking up for the superstar, outlets refused to let go of the narrative. Fast forward to OKC’s recent win over Orlando, Russ is seen hyping Dennis Schroder after his 18-point explosion in the fourth quarter.
Schroder goes onto to express how great of a teammate Russ is, talking about how he’s encouraged him since his arrival to the Mid-West.
Westbrook pads his stats
During his historic 2016-17 campaign, Westbrook went on this magical run to not only register 42 triple-doubles but be the first man to average a triple-double since Oscar Robertson. During his MVP season, the Brodie averaged 31.6 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.7 rebounds but instead of appreciating the feat, some fans coined the term stat padding.
While many players showed their love toward Russ and his incredible feat, fans took it upon themselves to discredit Russ’ accomplishment. More specifically, Westbrook addresses how difficult it is to rebound among the trees.
WARNING: profanity in the clip below
Following his league-leading 18th triple-double against the Miami Heat yesterday, the Thunder are now 100-22 when the Brodie registers one.
Westbrook is declining
At the ripe old age of 30, Russ is apparently declining and his athleticism is waning. The 2018-19 season has been his most problematic as he missed:
- training camp due to arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason
- first three games recovering from knee surgery
- six games following a severe ankle sprain after stepping on Anthony Davis‘ foot
The following two dunks over the last week and a half suggest otherwise. There’s the huge slam against Portland.
Followed by an absolute gem in transition against Miami.
Has Russ really declined? Russ’ game has matured and he’s playing smarter than in previous years. That doesn’t mean he’s declined, it just shows he’s picking his spots.
Whether or not these narratives actually fade out remains to be seen. Westbrook is one of the best point guards in the NBA with obvious flaws. The Brodie is the captain and unquestionable leader of the squad whose stuck around through thick and thin.
Russ will be a future hall of famer and an OKC Thunder great but these narratives are just that – stories.
Westbrook is playing some of the best basketball of his career and it’s great to see these narratives finally be put to rest.