Russell Westbrook has been under the microscope during the Lakers tumultuous 2021 season. The Lakers acquired the former MVP this summer and for a variety of reasons, it just hasn’t clicked for Westbrook in LA.
Westbrook is a unique talent and surely headed to the Hall-of-Fame one day. Three NBA experts compared Westbrook’s career to another Hall-of-Famer on the “Hoop Collective” podcast.
ESPN’s Tim Botemps explained the similarities between the careers of Westbrook and Allen Iverson.
“I’ve long compared Westbrook’s career to Allen Iverson. Those guys have Hall-of-Fame careers built out of sheer will and determination to play the way they think they should play, and freakish athleticism.”
Westbrook famously averaged a triple-double for three consecutive seasons (2016-2019) as the focal point of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder failed to get out of the first round of the playoffs every one one of those years despite Westbrook’s tremendous output.
Now, Iverson did accomplish something that Westbrook did not. Iverson pushed the 76ers to a Finals appearance as he compiled mind-boggling stats. But, the end of AI’s career wasn’t exactly a Hollywood ending.
Iverson had a nice run with the Nuggets after being traded to Denver mid-season in 2006. He struggled to adjust to a secondary role in his time with the Pistons, Grizzlies, and a reunion with the 76ers. After those stops, he played one final year of professional basketball in Turkey.
Iverson’s NBA career ended in a whimper.
“Allen Iverson's career ended very abruptly…the point is, it ended quick. I'm not saying that part of it is the same. To the end, Iverson was never going to change and it just feel likes that's exactly the thing we're talking about Russ because this is how he became a Hall-of-Fame player”
Contrary to the points of Tim McMahon, Tim Botemps, and Brian Windhorst, Russ has publicly said he must be the Lakers star to adjust him game.
There are parallels between Westbrook and Iverson, but Russ still has a chance to write a different ending.