Russell Westbrook, from critic to critic… and from record to record

Russell Westbrook accumulates controversies and even disrespect – how to forget the shameless way in which he floated Draymond Green, The point guard is always in the ‘eye of the hurricane’ for his sometimes questionable performance, more ‘visible’ in his case due to his status as MVP (2017), for his succulent salary this season, the second highest paid with 47 million only after the 48 of Stephen Curry, although his contract is no longer valid when he was cut via ‘buyout’ by the Jazz before signing with the Clippers. But not even in the other neighbor of Los Angeles is he safe from criticism after what is considered an obvious failure with the lakers.

But, as they say, ‘Russ’ also adds history, further decorating his 34 years a more than respectable career in the NBA that has earned him to be included in the list of 75 best ever, published last year by the best league in the world on the occasion of its 75th anniversary. Despite being one of the ‘defeated’ in the Clippers’ victory the day before yesterday against the Knicks (106-95) by not having him Tyronn Lue even having been a starter, the point guard climbed one more step in history by rising to ninth place in all-time top assists.

In 23 minutes, Westbrook barely registered a meager 7 points suffering from the inconsistency in shooting for which he is so criticized -3/8 in shooting and 0/2 in triples-, 5 rebounds and tarnished his 3 assists with 3 turnovers. However, those 3 basket passes helped him to pass nothing less than isiah thomas in the ranking that leads john stockton and continue collecting historic milestones this season, also with the Clippers.

And it is that the player from California has been especially in the conversation about records this season thanks to his valuable role from the bench in the Lakers, a function that, for the moment, has changed in the other team in Los Angeles, where he is fixed holder. The momentum that Russ experienced from the second unit made him break up to three records.

The one that has the most luster, one of Magic Johnson. With his 12 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists against the Sixers in December, Westbrook became the first Lakers player since the Magic to nineteen ninety six -and the only one in franchise history with him-, to achieve a triple-double from the bench.

But ‘Russ’ has already endorsed this course two more absolute records since the second unit: the substitute who most triple-doubles has signed in the entire history of the NBA and the one that has achieved the most in a single season with the 4 he registered with the Lakers, surpassing in both cases Dethlef Schrempf. Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Seattle Supersonics and Portland Trail Blazers were the teams in which the German played, who had an extensive career in the NBA between 1985 and 2001.

In this way, ‘Russ’ has also continued to increase his figures in the triple-doubles historical ranking, of which we must not forget that he continues to be the leader with 198 -only behind 200-, although Nikola Jokic -sixth with 106 and 28 years-, and luka doncic -tenth with 56 and 24 years-, pose real threats to his reign.

When you could think that the bench would be the ‘end’ of the 2017 MVP -He had not started as a substitute since 2008-, Westbrook found in his new ‘life’ the way to give the impetus a career in decline needed. Lakers coach Darvin Hamassigned him the role of leader of the second unit and managed to organize his game so that, for example, he better select that mid-range shot that missed once and again.

‘Russ’ averaged 18.5 points, 7 assists and 7.4 rebounds in 28 minutes this season with the Lakers despite lowering his shooting efficiency even further compared to last season, from 44.4% in field goals to 41.7%, and 31.5% in triples to 30%.

Despite this, his good and constant performances from the bench have helped Westbrook to become a candidate for Sixth Man of the Year and pique the interest of another contender for the ring when the purple and gold franchise had finally managed to ‘get him off their back’. In the Clippers, in addition to having recovered his ‘status’ as a starter, he continues to extend the story of his history in the NBA, recently promoted to number 9 in the all-time assists ranking. ‘Russ’ claims ‘respect’.

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