Russell Westbrook is one of the most talented players in the NBA and there's no doubt about it. He's more athletic and stronger than the average point guard, and we're just taking for granted what he does night and night out because he's got us used to have triple-doubles. However, we shouldn't normalize that.
A perfect example of this came from ESPN's Stephen A. Smith a couple of weeks ago, as he said that he didn't care about his numbers anymore because the Washington Wizards weren't winning.
Westbrook and his wife fired back at Smith, citing that he should stop creating narratives around him and that averaging a triple-double wasn't nearly as easy as it sounds.
That's why, now that the Wizards are peaking and looking to clinch a spot in the play-in tournament, Smith decided to double down on his take and call out Westbrook for his lack of championships:
“We’d celebrate you even more if you were a champion. You’ve been to four conference finals. You’ve been to an NBA Finals when Kevin Durant and cats like that were your teammates. Once Kevin Durant departed, you went home in the first round three straight years. You go to Houston, you go home in the semi-finals. You’re in Washington, and when everybody was raving about the triple-doubles, you were 13 games under .500 at that time. Now you’re in the play-in game. So now, you’re winning games more than losing, and y’all are making a run, you and Bradley Beal and the rest of the crew. And so now is the time to say okay, all right, that’s what we’re talking about Russ," Smith said.
Smith went on to add that Westbrook is just too good for us to focus exclusively on his numbers, urging him to show up when it matters the most and silence his critics in the playoffs:
“But at times when he speaks, it’s like no matter the outcome, he just wants us to look at his numbers. No! You’re too great for that. We will not just look at your numbers because you’re too great for that… Greatness like yours, the public is clamoring to see it when it counts. And there is nothing wrong with that. (With) greatness comes great responsibility," Smith concluded.
Stephen A. has a point right there. Westbrook is too good and he's been in debt more often than not in the playoffs.
However, that doesn't mean that we should take anything away from such a fierce competitor and dominant player. If putting up those numbers were that easy, everybody would do it.