Russell Westbrook is making his way to the Eastern Conference for the first time in his career. After one season with the Houston Rockets, the 2017 MVP joins the Washington Wizards who have missed the playoffs the last two seasons.
Westbrook will play alongside another star guard in Bradley Beal after just playing with James Harden, which of course followed his time in Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and then eventually Paul George.
Former Thunder big man and ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins spoke on the impact he believes that Westbrook can have in Washington on a live Twitter chat with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson.
(around 19:35 in the interview)
You’re getting a healthy Russ that wants the ball in his hands not to just score… He loves to make guys better.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re looking at another OKC story from this past season, they finish top five in the East and they’re a team you don’t want to see in the first round.
Perk made reference to Paul George having the best season of his career playing with Westbrook in Oklahoma City and hinted at some possible motivation for Westbrook to show that he can still help do that for someone like Bradley Beal.
Wizards forward Rui Hachimura has already credited Westbrook for changing the energy of the team.
The first thing I noticed is he’s a great leader. He’s so vocal,” Hachimura said. “He’s almost like a head coach. He always talks to us and he always talks to me. He’s a great guy. I like to play with him. He actually changed our energy, the team.”
Perkins also mentioned Westbrook’s familiarity with the Wizards coaching staff, assistant coach Robert Pack and head coach Scott Brooks, who Westbrook played for in Oklahoma City.
Brooks described the first practice with Westbrook as “intense” saying he showed up two hours early, as is his custom.