Ah yes, let the mud-slinging begin.
Russell Westbrook is on a team with three huge stars in the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was always going to be difficult for all of them to make the 2018 NBA All-Star team out west.
But that doesn’t matter to Russ.
After Tuesday night’s win over the Brooklyn Nets (where Westbrook hit the game-winning shot, no less) the reigning NBA MVP had some thoughts about teammate Paul George missing out on the All-Star Game, calling it “outrageous”.
Westbrook wasn’t too happy with teams getting “four people” onto the team (a dig at the Golden State Warriors) and that players are, “Talking about getting snubbed until they get in.”
That last part seems to have taken aim at Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, one of the most talked about snubs in recent years who finally got another All-Star bid.
Westbrook also said that George was “Top 2 at his position” which really colors the underlying issue at hand: Russ likes PG and wants him to stay in OKC.
Nobody reasonable would say that George is a Top 2 player on the wing. Not while LeBron James and Kevin Durant are alive, at least. And Westbrook’s comments about folks being stars vs. not stars, even if the voting goes one way says a lot.
The Warriors are the best team of all time. A bunch of guys getting on All-Star teams in their heyday makes sense, even if one of those guys is Klay Thompson (sometimes). We all have Warriors fatigue, I guess.
Meanwhile, Lillard is one of adidas’ biggest athletes when it comes to basketball, the face of a franchise, and has put up numbers deserving of making the team in years past. He’s also a big personality and a rapper. Lillard’s name is in lights each and every night. The issue with him sees to be that nobody watches him consistently east of the Cascades.
But all this arguing gives legitimacy to Westbrook’s point, which is mostly personal. George’s numbers have taken a dip in some areas, particularly when it comes to things like VORP, assist percentage, and true shooting. They’ve gone up in others, like 3-point shooting. He’s still a very good player and very valuable to the Thunder.
Each year, guys get left off the All-Star team for various reasons. Sometimes it’s just their turn to be on it or be off it. Nice of Westbrook to stop by with some takes.
Here’s hoping for him that George stays in OKC.