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Why B/R was entirely wrong in slight of Rockets’ Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Promoting false narratives?

For starters, we never really know the agenda at hand when these lists are constructed, as media narratives are often factored in. As we’ve previously discussed, Westbrook is unequivocally the most misunderstood player in the NBA, so it’s become par for the course for Russ to be slighted.

Russ has been commonly described as angry, selfish, and a bad teammate, which have certainly all been proven wrong this season, but were never true in reality. In addition, Russ was blamed for Kevin Durant leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder, although it was later revealed that Durant was more concerned about the lack of pieces around Westbrook, after James Harden was dealt to the Houston Rockets.

But there’s no argument for Westbrook being outside of the top ten players in the league. In fact, there’s a statistical argument for Westbrook being inside of the top-five, based on the rare territory he’s entered this season.

Russell Westbrook is one of only three players this season with 1400 points, 400 rebounds, and 370 assists.

The other two are LeBron James and Luka Doncic.

— Space City Scoop (@SpaceCity_Scoop) April 20, 2020

Part of Bleacher Report’s reasoning for Westbrook being so low is that he got off to a slow start early in the season. But this seems like an injustice to point out, because there’s an adjustment period any time a trade is made. It takes time for players to adapt and find their niche, and especially in an offense as uniquely exhausting as Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s.

One can make an argument that Russ should be included in place of Damian Lillard in the top ten. There’s also an argument that could be made for Russ being included in place of Jimmy Butler. But let’s focus on the fact that Khris Middleton is included in the top ten and Westbrook is not.

Next: Russ vs. Middleton