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If Lamar Jackson took basketball seriously, he says he would've been Russell Westbrook

If Lamar Jackson took basketball seriously, he says he would've been Russell Westbrook

Has Lamar Jackson ever thought about playing in the NBA? Not necessarily. But if he would've worked at it, there's one particular player he belives his game would resemble. 

Houston Rockets point guard and nine-time NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook. 

"He's so energetic," Jackson said in a recent interview with Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks. "When he takes off, he goes crazy. The dunks, his explosiveness, that's what you would see from me."

RELATED: LAMAR JACKSON GRACES THREE DIFFERENT MADDEN COVERS

Jackson (6-foot-2, 212 pounds) and Westbrook (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) are pretty similar in size. Even when comparing wingspans, Jackson (77.880 inches) has similar measurables to Westbrook (79.92 inches) -- except for probably the muscle mass.

"I never tried to play [basketball]," Jackson said. "I can dunk easily, and I have my little shot or whatever, but I never took it seriously."

Even if Jackson never sets the record for most games with consecutive triple-doubles, he's had a pretty successful career in the NFL early on:

2019 NFL Most Valuable Player, first-team All-Pro, and now the cover of Madden 21. 

Life is good.

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Caron Butler sees Rockets with Harden and Westbrook, Wizards with Beal as sleepers in NBA's restart

Caron Butler sees Rockets with Harden and Westbrook, Wizards with Beal as sleepers in NBA's restart

Former Wizards star Caron Butler is now an NBA analyst who pays attention to the entire league and he has a few expectations for what basketball could look like when it returns at Disney World next month.

He joined Chris Miller on the 'Wizards Talk' podcast and weighed in on which teams could benefit from the adjusted format, as well as some of the potential pitfalls that could occur. For one, he thinks the Houston Rockets are being underestimated, especially with time off.

"It's wide open. I really do feel like it's wide open. I think that being part of a championship team, being part of winning teams, it's all about timing and continuity, momentum," Butler said.

"That's taken completely out. Everybody is equal. It's an even playing field. So, it's a battle of wills. A team that is dangerous to me is the Houston Rockets. Anything could happen. Russell Westbrook and James Harden, they could win you a series alone by themselves."

Butler also gave a nod to the Wizards, suggesting Bradley Beal could make a major impact. And he sees the Blazers with Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as sleepers because of their play-making ability.

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Butler, though, also has some serious concerns about when basketball comes back. He had to return from a lockout during his NBA playing days and knows it can be very hard to get going again.

"My major concern with the NBA being speeded up and coming back very soon is that I think there's going to be a lot of injuries," he said. "I just think that hamstrings and not bumping into people over the course of a few months, the contact, the pounding; all those things are gonna, I just think we're going to have some injuries. I hope not, but I just feel like that's the path we're going down."

Hopefully Butler's prediction isn't realized, but it is certainly something to monitor.

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Where does a healthy John Wall rank among NBA's top 10 point guards?

Where does a healthy John Wall rank among NBA's top 10 point guards?

John Wall last played in an NBA game on December 26, 2018. He's expected to come back at the beginning of the 2020-21 season, and once he makes his long-awaited return to the Wizards' starting lineup, he'll find himself in a much different point guard landscape than the one he left. 

The position has changed, traditional point guards are mostly a thing of the past. NBA offenses are either run through multiple ball-handlers who can score and facilitate, or they're one-man shows centered around highly skilled individuals such as James Harden and Luka Doncic. 

Wall has consistently been one of the best in the league at his position, but after missing a year to an Achilles injury, it's hard to forecast where his game will be come next season. With that in mind, let's take a look at the top 10 point guards in the game (all presumed healthy), and see where Wall falls on the list. 

1. James Harden
2. Luka Doncic
3. Damian Lillard
4. Steph Curry
5. Chris Paul
6. Kyrie Irving
7. John Wall
8. Russell Westbrook
9. Kemba Walker
10. Kyle Lowry

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Wall has the talent to be in the top three of this list for sure, though it's difficult to put him anywhere but No. 7 right now. He's probably a tier above Walker and Lowry, while Wall and Westbrook are more comparable players. 

Irving, Curry and Lillard are too good and have been consistently great enough to where you can't put them below Wall, while Paul might be a great inspiration for players like Wall. Paul keeps getting older and keeps getting hurt but he's still so, so good. 

Then you have the two walking offensive systems in Doncic and Harden. Their production and what they do for their teams as primary ball-handlers is mostly unmatched across the eight players listed below them. 

Wall could rise all the way to the top of this list if he plays to his full abilities. The speed, perimeter defense, passing and dribble penetration made him an All-NBA level player. If Wall can improve his accuracy from beyond the arc, take more threes and fewer mid-range jumpers, I don't see why he can't see an uptick in efficiency even if his athleticism isn't what it used to be.

It's not a reach to say the Wizards' contention hopes depend heavily on whether Wall plays back to All-Star form or not. An Achilles injury is incredibly challenging to bounce back from, especially for a player like Wall whose game has had so much to do with speed and explosion in the past. 

The good news is he's had a chance to digest the game from a different perspective and time to fine-tune his jumper, while his Wizards teammates, especially Bradley Beal, are better than when he last suited up. 

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