Russell Westbrook Is 2nd-Best PG in NBA History Behind Magic Johnson, Wizards HC Says

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 4, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 03: Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards waits to enter the game in the second half while standing next to head coach Scott Brooks during the Wizards and Dallas Mavericks game at Capital One Arena on April 03, 2021 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Washington Wizards head coach Scott Brooks made the case for Russell Westbrook as the second-best point guard in NBA history behind Magic Johnson following Monday's 154-141 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

After Westbrook dropped 14 points, 24 assists and 21 rebounds on Monday, Brooks offered high praise for the star guard:

"Point guards don't do what he does. He's not normal; they're not built that way. There may be someone that probably shoots better. There might be someone that probably can do certain things better. But there's nobody in the history of the game that can do what he does throughout the stat sheet. 
"I used to always say he's going to probably go down as the third-best point guard ever, but I think he's passed one. He's going to go down as probably the second best, and [No. 1] is obviously Magic [Johnson]. He's underappreciated. What he does, there are no point guards ever done it, nobody."

After hearing about his coach's comments, Westbrook noted he was "grateful" for Brooks.

"I’m grateful for someone like Scottie, not only as a coach but as a friend," Westbrook told reporters. "He's giving me the opportunity to go out and be me."

Brooks has obviously gotten to witness Westbrook's dynamism up close and personal through their time together with the Wizards and Oklahoma City Thunder. And his opinion that Westbrook's sustained production is unparalleled for a point guard isn't incorrect.

Per Stathead, Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player in NBA history with at least 20 assists and 20 rebounds in the same game. Chamberlain did it as a 7'1" center who was something of a physical anomaly among his peers.

Westbrook is a 6'3" guard who turned 32 in November.

Brooks' belief about where Westbrook stands in history at his position is more contentious, though.

There will never be a consensus in any greatest players discussion, but one could plausibly argue Westbrook isn't even the top point guard of his generation. Stephen Curry is probably ahead of him and perhaps Chris Paul as well.

And that's before you include the likes of Oscar Robertson, Steve Nash, Isiah Thomas, John Stockton and Jason Kidd.

To some extent, trying to compare Westbrook to other point guards past and present might be a futile exercise considering the ways in which he has broken the mold. For 55 years, nobody had averaged a triple-double over a full season, and now Westbrook has made it look routine.

The legend surrounding the nine-time All-Star will only continue to grow for future generations. There won't be another Russell Westbrook for the foreseeable future, and those who have watched him play will never forget what he has done on an NBA court.


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