Why Antawn Jaminson ‘fell in love’ with Russell Westbrook


Antawn Jamison, one of the best forwards in Washington Wizards history, still has a special place in his heart for Russell Westbrook, the point guard who willed the squad to the postseason in his one lone year in D.C.

“I fell in love with Russ. Russ held [the Wizards] accountable night in and night out,” Jamison told Chris Miller on the Off the Bench podcast. “Say what you want to say about what he shoots from the 3-point line or the other intangibles that he brings to the table, but he was a leader. He was a true captain to the Washington Wizards.”

Westbrook would spend one season in D.C., putting up a stellar 22.2 ppg, 11.7 apg (a career-high), and 11.5 rpg, making it the fourth time he averaged a triple-double across an entire season.

But, this past offseason, he was traded in a colossal deal to the Los Angeles Lakers that saw Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell land in Washington. Jamison has been the Wizards’ Director of Pro Personnel since 2019, so he was directly involved with crafting the deal.

Related: Three landing spots for Russell Westbrook at the NBA Trade Deadline

The Wizards now hold a young core of players—like Rui Hachimura, Deni Avdija, Corey Kispert and others—that could still use the tutelage of a veteran like Westbrook.


“When you have guys in the organization like that, you really want to keep them because we have such a young group of guys as well that would gain so much from him,” Jamison said. “Because I’ve been in situations where I was that young guy, and I was that captain and that veteran as well.”

Jamison spent the best six seasons of his career in Washington, where he would indeed mold into a true, experienced veteran — not unlike the position Westbrook currently finds himself in. However, the latter’s current tenure as a Laker has not been kind.

Los Angeles finds itself with a disappointing 26-29 record. Westbrook has been at the center of the team's struggles which is why trade rumors have swirled around the point guard for months now.