Wizards’ guard Russell Westbrook is one of a kind.
The nine-time NBA All-Star is one of a few players who stay relevant despite his team’s success, or lack thereof, because of performances like Monday night where he continues to etch his name in NBA record books.
Against the Pacers, Westbrook clinched his fifth triple-double with 14 points, 21 rebounds and 24 assists to lead his team to a 154-141 victory. In doing so, he broke his own record becoming the first player in league history to record their second 20-plus rebound and assist game. The only other player to ever do it was Wilt Chamberlain, but he only did it once.
Westbrook is also on the heels of the NBA great, Oscar Robertson for most triple doubles. The Wizards’ guard is just three behind Robertson with 178 career triple-doubles.
“Point guards don’t do what he does,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said after Monday’s game. “They’re not built that way.”
We all know what Westbrook is capable of with the ball in his hands because numbers don’t lie, but his impact on each team he plays for is just as pivotal.
There are many stars and freak athletes in the NBA, but since joining the Wizards, Westbrook has shown the importance of leadership.
In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Wizards’ star Bradley Beal spoke to what Westbrook brings to the organization.
“As a leader. As a player. As a father. As a man. Like, he’s the best teammate probably I’ve ever had, and just in terms of leadership, probably one of the best leaders I’ve been around. Because he holds himself accountable. He holds himself to a certain standard.”
Westbrook’s arrival came in a pre-season trade for John Wall. While Wall dealt with injuries over the past three years, Beal had to take on the load of being the go-to player for the Wizards. Last season, Beal averaged 30.5 points per game, at that point it was the most he’d ever averaged throughout his eight-year career. This season he averages 30.9 points per game.
With the warm welcome from starting guard in Beal, Westbrook has done nothing but elevated the Wizards’ play. Despite a 30-35 record, they sit tenth in the Eastern Conference. As long as they remain between seventh and 10th seeds, it gives them the opportunity to secure a berth in the NBA’s play-in tournament. It’ll be one step closer to them reaching the playoffs since their opening round, 2-4 series loss to the Toronto Raptors in 2018.
With Westbrook not slowing down anytime soon and Beal averaging over 30 points a game, their pursuit for the NBA title or at least, conference title isn’t far-fetched. And although, it would be bad news for the Wizards’ postseason goals, if Westbrook did absolutely nothing for the rest of the season, he’d still average a triple-double.