Wizards

Quick Links

Wizards' Brooks recalls coaching Westbrook, wishes him success

Wizards' Brooks recalls coaching Westbrook, wishes him success

On Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks will encounter what for so many years was his opponent's undesirable problem. He will for the first time compete against — and not with — Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, a transcendent superstar who defies convention at his position and, lately, the statistical norms of NBA history.

Westbrook has been described before as a walking triple-double, but never before has that nickname been more appropriate. The five-time All-NBA selection has been on a historic tear so far this season, averaging a triple-double through 19 games. 

Westbrook is putting up 30.9 points, 11.3 assists and 10.3 rebounds per contest. Those numbers aren't far off from the 1961-62 campaign of Oscar Roberston, who that year held a per game line of 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists to become the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire season.

Westbrook has reached a new level statistically this year without having to share shot attempts with Kevin Durant, who moved on to join the Warriors in free agency. Westbrook is currently taking a career-high 23.7 shots per game. He leads the league in field goal attempts (451) and has 60 more than the next guy, Anthony Davis of the Pelicans.

This week, Brooks looked back at coaching Westbrook, including the early days of getting to know him before the Thunder made him the fourth overall pick in 2008.

"I was there when we brought him into his pre-draft workout. My first thought when we were working him through that workout was 'thank goodness I'm not an NBA point guard anymore' because there was no way I can stay in front of this guy. He was 19 years old and played nothing but two-guard in college at UCLA… but he averaged 15, 5 and 5 and that's not easy to do. Only a handful of guys, rookie point guards, were able to do that," Brooks recalled.

[RELATED: Scott Brooks embraces his return to Oklahoma City]

It was clear early in his career that Westbrook was not only a special athlete, a force of nature the league had not seen before at the point guard position, but that he was unusually versatile. He could rebound exceptionally well for his position, which has allowed him to become such a triple-double machine.

"The rebounding numbers that he's putting up now, I didn't anticipate that he would be able to average over 10, but he averaged five. He's been the best rebounding point guard in the league for a long time," Brooks said. "Russell is averaging a triple-double in nearly a quarter of the season. Nobody thought that there would be another with Oscar Robertson-type numbers in this league."

Brooks and Westbrook went through a lot with each other. They made the NBA Finals once and the Western Conference Finals five different times. Brooks was fired by the Thunder following the 2014-15 season and is now on the other side, but he has no ill-will towards his former point guard.

"I'm happy that he's successful. He took a lot of criticism, well we took a lot of criticism but some was probably deserving, but most wasn't. Give him all the credit. He's worked his butt off to be the player that he is and he's deserving what he's getting right now," Brooks said.

[RELATED: Gregg Popovich on consulting with Brooks]

Quick Links

Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks, who will buy him out, in three-team deal involving Dennis Schroder

carmeloanthony-dmv-usatsi.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Carmelo Anthony traded to Hawks, who will buy him out, in three-team deal involving Dennis Schroder

The stage has been set for Carmelo Anthony to hit free agency, as the 10-time All-Star was traded to the Atlanta Hawks on Thursday in a three-team deal, one that will lead to a subsequent buyout of his contract. ESPN first reported the news and noted that the Rockets are the favorites to sign him.

The full deal sends Dennis Schroder from the Hawks to the Thunder in exchange for Anthony and a protected first round pick, and sends Mike Muscala from Atlanta to Philly. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to the Thunder from Phily and Justin Anderson will go from the Sixers to the Hawks.

That's a complicated deal, but it ultimately frees Anthony up to choose a new team. He was set to make $27.9 million from the Thunder next season, but the Hawks are footing the bill to let him walk.

Anthony's skills have declined now that he's 34 years old. Last season, he averaged 16.2 points on 40.4 percent shooting, way down from the 22.4 points he averaged the season before with the Knicks.

Still, Anthony could help a team looking for a scoring punch and the Rockets would like some more help in their quest to take down the Warriors. If he signs there, he will join friend Chris Paul and the 2017-18 MVP, James Harden. 

Houston has been the logical landing spot for Anthony ever since news broke that the Thunder were looking for a way out of his contract. If he doesn't go there, perhaps the Lakers would make sense. LeBron James is going to need a lot more help than the roster he currently has around him to make some noise in the crowded Western Conference.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Fallout from the Kawhi/DeRozan trade; Kevin Love questions

usatsi_7633959.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Wizards Tipoff podcast: Fallout from the Kawhi/DeRozan trade; Kevin Love questions

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, Chase Hugheswas joined by Nick Ashooh to break down the fallout from the trade involving Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan.

They looked at what it means for the Wizards and the East, as well as the Lakers and LeBron. Plus, they took fan questions, many of which centered on Kevin Love and the possibility of a trade to Washington.

You can listen to the episode right here: