RUSS IS A LAKER 🔥
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 30, 2021
For Westbrook, this opportunity comes at a pivotal point in his career.
Entering his 14th season in the NBA, Westbrook has repeatedly proven himself to be one of the best statistical players in the league.
He’s a three-time assists leader and two-time scoring champion.
But as good as Westbrook has been piling up the counting stats, the soon-to-be 33-year-old has never secured an NBA title.
Now with the Lakers, he finally has a chance to add a championship to his legacy.
Westbrook Is A First Ballot Hall Of Famer
There’s no minimizing Westbrook’s accomplishments throughout his career.
He has averaged a triple-double in four of the last five seasons, including last year when he averaged 22.2 points per game, 11.5 rebounds per game, and a league-leading 11.7 assists per game.
Prior to Westbrook’s run, Robertson remained the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double, doing so once (1961-62).
In 2016-17, Westbrook earned NBA MVP honors behind his league-leading 31.6 scoring average.
That season, he posted the league’s first triple-double average since Robertson’s campaign.
Westbrook also sports nine All-Star and All-NBA berths during his 13-year career.
Last season, he and Bradley Beal carried the Washington Wizards to the postseason, winning 15 of the team’s final 20 games to clinch a spot.
It was Westbrook’s 11th postseason appearance in his career.
He has helped his team to the Western Conference Finals four times, and to the NBA Finals once.
This season, he’s poised to finally secure the championship that’s eluded him throughout his spectacular career.
Playoff Failures Plague Westbrook
Putting up the stats he has throughout his career has secured Westbrook’s place in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
But his resume is still missing that championship victory.
After starring on a loaded Oklahoma City Thunder squad that seemed ready to dominate the league last decade, everything fell apart.
Even during his MVP campaign, Westbrook’s Oklahoma City team exited unceremoniously with a five-game first-round defeat.
Westbrook-led teams have progressed passed the first round only once since 2016, and that team lost in five games in the Conference semifinals.
Now with Los Angeles, Westbrook will not be the best or even the second-best player on the team.
But the expectation remains: championship or bust.
With Westbrook joining LeBron and AD, the Lakers now have their version of the Big 3. All we need now is a couple of shooters and we’ll be tough to beat!!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 30, 2021
But Westbrook’s arrival should provide the team with another go-to star to alleviate the pressure on James and Davis to create everything.
One of the failings of last year’s Lakers squad was the inability to produce any meaningful offense without their top stars initiating almost every action.
Westbrook can shoulder the regular season load from James, keeping the four-time champion fresher for the stretch run.