Michael Wilbon thinks 32-year-old Westbrook is getting better originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
In the wake of the Wizards’ blockbuster trade for former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook, a lot has been made about the team moving on from the John Wall era. Things are definitely going to look different in the nation’s capital with a new point guard in town.
Westbrook is one of the most impressive athletes in recent NBA history, something that has led many to assume he will struggle to maintain a high level of play as he grows older. But Westbrook was playing some of the best basketball of his career prior to the league shutting down in March, as he made his ninth All-NBA team.
And if you ask ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, Westbrook is actually only getting better age.
“For whatever he might have lost at 32-years old in terms of motor, Westbrook keeps getting better as a player to me in a lot of respects,” Wilbon said on Thursday’s edition of Pardon The Interruption. “Because one, he knows he doesn’t shoot the three well anymore so he’s almost stopped shooting it. He’s down to 25 percent, but his number of attempted threes is way down. He can still pass the ball, he can still break down your defense.”
In Wilbon’s eyes, it’s not just about how Westbrook’s skillset is aging. It’s also about how he can mesh with, and lead, the Wizards’ young core.
“Here’s what he can do,” Wilbon continued. “He, with that blast furnace energy, can show young players — and the Wizards have a lot of them, aside from Beal — how you need to play, how you need to be a professional, how you need to treat this. No one’s ever accused Russell Westbrook of taking a moment off. And so that will help them.”
The Wizards made this deal with the playoffs in mind, so they are certainly hoping Wilbon is right about the kind of impact Westbrook can have, not just individually but on the entire roster.
How he fits in with Bradley Beal will be the biggest key in Washington, but Westbrook can make a difference in a number of ways, even as he gets deeper into his 30’s. And if he does make that kind of impact, the Wizards can start to set their sights a little higher come playoff time.