Billy Donovan believes Russell Westbrook is a Hall of Fame player
After his team’s matchup against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night, Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook tied LeBron James for sixth place in the most career triple-doubles list. However, what’s more impressive is that he was able to reach that feat in 395 less games than the four-time MVP.
The 28-year-old UCLA product finished the game with 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists. More importantly, he led the Thunder to victory and improved their record to 10-8 for the season. When asked how he felt that he was able have his 44th triple-double, Westbrook downplayed his individual accomplishment and shifted the attention to his task at hand.
“I mean, nothing. I’m happy we won — that’s the most important part for me. But I definitely don’t take anything for granted. Like I said, every night I step on the floor I try to compete at a high level and [am] thankful I can play the game I love every night.”
“It’s a combination of me getting better as a player and also being patient. Before, it was a little different, because I was not as effective at finishing around the basket, but now I’m able to get down to the basket and make plays for my teammates.”
Westbrook’s head coach, Billy Donovan, could not help but rave about how good his starting point has been for the team and also talked about how he impacts the game night in and night out.
“To put up those numbers, the people that are in that category, he’s a Hall of Fame player. I mean, that’s really what he is. He’s a Hall of Fame player. And it’s really remarkable what he’s doing.”
“He’s extremely rare, just because I’ve never seen a player be able to impact the game in the amount of ways he can impact it. And I mean that from a standpoint of analytically or statistically. He’s impacting our team in terms of his leadership, he impacts our team raising our energy, he raises when we’re down. … He can do so many different things. I think that’s why he plays so fearlessly, because he knows there are ways for him [to impact the game]. He’s not just a one-way limited player.”
“As a coach you feel very, very blessed and fortunate to be able to work with someone like that every single day, just because he takes it so seriously. He cares so much about the team, and winning.”
The five-time All-Star is playing incredible basketball so far this season and through 18 games is averaging 31.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 11.1 assists. If he continues to play at this pace, it will certainly be one of the best ever in NBA history and will also help solidify Donovan’s claim that he is already a Hall of Fame-type of player as early as now.