Russell Westbrook returned from his quadriceps injury on Sunday night looking much like he did before he left, still lacking explosion around the rim, committing too many turnovers and shooting at a low percentage. Though there are some understandable reasons why - like the fact he hadn't played in weeks - Westbrook was anything but pleased with his performance against the Spurs.
Westbrook had only nine points on 3-for-11 shooting with four turnovers in the loss and afterwards he summed up his performance in harsh terms.
"I’m definitely not where I need to be in all aspects. I just gotta be better and get my s--- together," he said.
Westbrook had missed the Wizards' last two games and would have missed many more if they didn't have six games postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak. He came back on Sunday in part because they were missing eight players and needed all the help they could get. If the situation wasn't as dire, perhaps they could have been more patient with his return.
Westbrook, though, made it work and looked like a guy who has some rust to knock off. He made some careless passes and lost his dribble on a few occasions, generally not looking in sync with his teammates.
"It’s been a lot of time off, I’m just trying to get a rhythm," he said.
Head coach Scott Brooks saw it similarly and gave Westbrook credit simply for playing. He was one of only two point guards healthy for the Wizards with Ish Smith (Covid-19 protocol) and Raul Neto (groin) unavailable.
"He’s going to get into a rhythm and it’s going to take him some time," Brooks said. "I like the fact he went out there and competed. He wants to play and he wants to help our team win. He’s always been that way. He’s prideful."
Westbrook has had some of the same issues persist all season. He leads the NBA with 5.1 turnovers per game and is shooting a career-low 37.0 percent from the field.
The Wizards simply needed Westbrook to play on Sunday, given the circumstances. But soon they will need much more than that from him if they expect to turn their season around.