Since being selected as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Houston Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook continues to prove that he’s one of the best active players in the league. However, despite his explosive performance almost every night, some people believe that Westbrook isn’t getting the recognition that is supposed to be given to a player of his caliber.
In a recent interview with Tim MacMahon of ESPN, Memphis Grizzlies rookie point guard Ja Morant, who admitted that Westbrook was his favorite player as a kid, said that the Rockets superstar is still “highly disrespected” in the NBA.
“People take his play for granted,” Morant said. “I mean, he averaged a triple-double for the last three or four years, and I’m pretty sure they see what he’s doing this year, but it’s still the same thing. I just love that he still just goes out and plays and handles his business and doesn’t worry about it.”
Though he’s yet to win his first NBA championship title, Westbrook is a nine-time NBA All-Star and was named the Most Valuable Player in the 2016-17 NBA season. However, despite his achievements, he’s still not considered on the same level as other NBA superstars like LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry. Westbrook didn’t deny Morant’s statement, but he said that he doesn’t really care whether people respect him or not. As of now, Westbrook is just focused on further improving his game and helping his team achieve their main goal.
“I don’t really care what nobody else thinks about my game,” Westbrook said. “I appreciate guys like [Morant] and other guys, but as long as I’m OK and satisfied with what I bring to the table, I’m going to keep busting everybody’s a**.”
When he first arrived in Houston, most people doubted if a dominant superstar like Westbrook could coexist with James Harden on the Rockets. Westbrook and Harden may have been teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder, but their stint in Houston is different since “The Beard” is now considered the main man. Luckily, Westbrook managed to prove his doubters wrong and showed that he and Harden are great backcourt partners.
Westbrook continues to become comfortable with the Rockets’ system as the 2019-20 NBA season goes deeper. Since the Rockets traded Clint Capela to acquire Robert Covington before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline, Westbrook has shown better performance, averaging 34.0 points on 56.9 percent shooting from the field. If Westbrook becomes consistent with his game and remains healthy, the Rockets could be a huge headache to any team they face in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.