According to an NBA exec who spoke to Ava Wallace and Ben Golliver of The Washington Post, the Wizards made the right move by trading former No. 1 overall pick John Wall to the Houston Rockets for Westbrook for a couple of reasons.
“Washington improved because they have someone that can functionally play in the games and the head coach has deep familiarity with the player acquired. Totally worth the risk. The bigger risk was returning someone from a dramatic injury that so heavily relied on speed to be effective,” one executive said.
“He may advance their development. Washington had to make the choice about playing those guys (Rui Hachimura and Deni Avdija) just to play them or playing them in games where winning and losing mattered. Now every game is going to be important because he (Russell Westbrook) will make it important. They might find out more about them this year than they anticipated.”
Westbrook is arguably the fiercest competitor in the NBA. Wizards players won't be able to take games off with the 2017 MVP as their leader.
That's a good thing for a Washington team that has lacked a positive culture over the years.
A nine-time All-Star, Westbrook averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game for the Rockets last season. He shot 47.2 percent from the field, 25.8 percent from beyond the arc and 76.3 percent from the free-throw line.
The Wizards' front office can't wait to see Westbrook and Bradley Beal dominate games together.