Lakers' Dwight Howard Says Russell Westbrook 'Has Been Underappreciated'

Adam WellsAugust 24, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook poses for a photo with his jersey at an introductory NBA basketball news conference in Los Angeles, Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
AP Photo/Kyusung Gong

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard thinks Russell Westbrook deserves more respect. 

Speaking to reporters about his new teammate, Howard said Westbrook "has been underappreciated" throughout his career:

"So I think having a guy like Russ is going to get you 15, 16, 20 points a night. He's going to get you 12 rebounds, he's going to get you 10 assists, and he's going to play 110 percent every single night. How can you not appreciate that? So I'm gonna tell you: 'I appreciate you, Russ!’ And we ain't even played a game on the same team yet."

Westbrook is among the most scrutinized players in the NBA, despite also being one of the most successful superstars of this era on an individual basis.

The nine-time All-Star broke Oscar Robertson's career triple-double record last season. He has averaged a triple-double in four of the past five seasons. Robertson is the only other player in NBA history to average a triple-double in a full season (1961-62). 

Despite Westbrook's individual success, he has yet to win a championship. The 32-year-old did play in the 2012 NBA Finals with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but they lost to the Miami Heat in five games. 

Westbrook's teams have made the playoffs in each of the past six seasons, but they have only advanced past the first round once during that span. 

The Lakers acquired Westbrook from the Washington Wizards on Aug. 6. They will be the fourth different team he has played on in the past four seasons.