After a disappointing run with Houston last season, criticism about the game of Russell Westbrook increased as talks about his capability to win a title continues.
And with the former league Most Valuable Player (MVP) being traded for the third time in his career, the talks did not tone down.
Now, playing for Washington after a straight-up trade for John Wall, fans didn’t know what to expect as he entered the Eastern Conference.
However, after his first two games, Westbrook reminded everyone that he is still a beast that can pad the stat sheet.
In his very first game of the season, the 32-year-old explosive guard put up his usual amazing performance in his first game as a Wizard.
In a losing effort against Philadelphia, 107-113, Westbrook put up a triple-double with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists.
Despite losing their season opener, Westbrook and the Wizards looked comfortable playing together. Playing for the last coach that helped him reach the finals in the past, Scott Brooks, Westbrook looked comfortable and familiar with the system.
Brodie followed up in his second game with another consecutive triple-double, finishing with 15 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists. Unfortunately this was in a 130-120 loss to the Magic.
Playing with a scoring machine like Bradley Beal, who is also a great off-ball player, it seems that the UCLA product may have found the good partner in his 13th year in the NBA.
“It was an early shootaround, a meeting. He said ‘hey, the game doesn’t start at seven, the game starts now.’ When you wake up in the morning, that’s when the game starts. You’ve gotta prepare yourself. You have to think about who you are guarding and how you can impact the game in a positive way. Just with him saying those words, players listen,” Brooks said in an interview.
“It’s always been that way. He’s been so locked in on game days. You don’t want to mess with him on game days because he’s locked in right from breakfast on. He’s already thinking about how he can hate the other opponent.” He added.
While the triple-doubles have been great, Westbrook has been doing this for years. What he still needs to shake off, though, is the reputation of being a beast on the stat sheet while being unable to help lead a team past the first round of the playoffs.
Since Kevin Durant moved the Warriors, the Thunder never made it past the first round with Westbrook at the helm. His lone appearance in the second round was last season, and James Harden was undoubtedly the leader of the Rockets.
The question now is whether or not Westbrook can even make it past the first round of the playoffs in the East, should he make it there. The top teams are all looking like strong contenders, and having to get past teams like the Bucks, Celtics, Heat, Nets, Raptors and Sixers is a tall order.
Do you think Westbrook will make the playoffs with the Wizards? What’re your thoughts about the Westbrook-Beal duo? Sound off in the comment section.