Anthony-Towns both praises Westbrook, says he can chase stats; Green defends Russ

Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves
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Russell Westbrook‘s ugly 4-of-20 shooting game — including missing 10 shots in the restricted area — in a high-profile Christmas Day matchup against the Nets was the fuel his critics were looking for. Westbrook has not been able to help lift up the 16-18 Lakers, who remain overly dependant on LeBron James having a monster night (and sometimes, like his 39 points against the Nets, even that is not enough).

Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns was asked about Westbrook by streamer Adin Ross Monday and both praised and questioned Westbrook, saying that getting stats in a loss is meaningless.

“He definitely gets stats. He chases stats. But I think he’s a hell of a player, though. I don’t care what anyone says — you know how hard it is to get a triple-double? You know how hard it is? And he play hella hard. I just think that sometimes he plays too quick. He tries to do too much.”

Those comments went viral and were seen by the Warriors Draymond Green, who came to Westbrook’s defense — and accused Towns of doing the same thing.

I once watched from the bench due to us beating the Twolves ass and he was in the game down 20 with 2 mins to go. Come on man. Stop talking to people about the “bros” and yelling this is a “brotherhood”. SMH”

The criticism Westbrook chases stats in a way that benefits his numbers but doesn’t help the team has been flung at Westbook since Oklahoma City. That criticism has certainly been front and center in Los Angeles, where a team with LeBron, Westbrook, and Anthony Davis has been pedestrian. Westbrook thinks he’s doing alright, here is what he said recently, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“Honestly, I think I’ve been fine,” Westbrook said. “The conversation has been heavily on how I’m playing and what I’m doing, but I think people are expecting me to have f****** 25, 15 and 15, which, that is not normal. Everybody has to understand, like, that’s not a normal thing that people do consistently.”

Towns has been accused of the same thing in the past — putting up counting stats but not doing the little things that help a team win. Such as defending at a high level.

Westbrook’s defense in Los Angeles has been an issue, but the bigger concern is just the fit with LeBron. It’s not the stats as much as the efficiency, which a 4-of-20 game on Christmas Day did not help.