If there’s any two players in the NBA playing with chips on their shoulders this season, it’s D-Lill and Russ. And for good reasons. Portland’s PG has been left off of too many All Star and All NBA rosters to count (though he was gifted a charity spot when Blake Griffin got hurt in ’15), and let’s just say Russell has some extra motivation this year after Batman left Robin to go join the rival Avengers in San Francisco.
— Pumpkinhead ? (@PumpkinNation) July 5, 2016
So far they’re both sticking to the script, with Westbrook basically accounting for every Thunder bucket so far
— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) October 19, 2016
and Lillard putting his team on his back like usual, doing all he can to try and turn this young Blazers squad into the playoff team we all hope it can be. As good as Westbrook’s performed (and will continue to), the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and despite the statistical monster he’s been, what he hasn’t been: is a winner.
Sure, I’ll hear your argument that he helped lead the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals last year, but he for sure didn’t do that alone. What he did do alone was tip toe next to Oscar Robertson as the only player to average a triple double and miss the playoffs during the ’14/’15 season.
Allen Iverson may have played in the East, but he still got the Sixers to plus 50 wins with about as lackluster of a supporting cast (Todd MacCulloch anyone?) as Westbrook has this season when he took home the Maurice Podoloff trophy in 2001.
Lillard on the other hand: is (a winner).
— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) February 20, 2016
Or will be. He’s definitely not doing it alone, CJ Mccollum might be poised for his first All Star bid and Portland’s young talent rivals the Wolves as the best in the league – but it’s Dame’s team. If you think about it, there’s no reason for Portland to have been in the playoffs last year minus Aldridge, yet they made it to the Western Semis, and it’s because of number 0. That number 0. He’s also one of the few players to explode against that team from Golden State, dropping 51 on them last season in a route.
They’re both off to hot starts so far, and look for both to continue. But the wins, that’s what’s important. He might not post a million triple doubles, but he’ll get those wins. And that’s what matters.