Russell Westbrook (born November 12, 1988) is an American professional basketball player currently playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the NBA. Westbrook played high school basketball for Leuzinger High School, then played two years in college at UCLA before declaring for the 2008 NBA Draft. He was drafted by the Thunder's former incarnation, the Seattle SuperSonics, which relocated from Seattle to Oklahoma City six days after the draft. So far in his career, Westbrook has been a two-time All-Star, a two-time member of the All-NBA Second Team, and a member of the NBA All-Rookie First Team. Westbrook represented the United States in the 2010 FIBA World Championships in Turkey, where he won a gold medal. He also won a gold medal with the national team at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Oklahoma City Thunder (2008–present)
Russell Westbrook vs. Celtics
He was selected 4th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics (later known as the Oklahoma City Thunder due to sale of team and relocation). He signed with the team on July 5, 2008 along with D. J. White. He played with fellow Bruin Earl Watson on the Thunder team.
Westbrook was named the Western Conference Rookie of the month for December and February. In December, Westbrook averaged 15.5 points, 5.1 assists, and 5.1 rebounds. In February, Westbrook averaged 20.6 points, 5.9 assists, and 6.1 rebounds. On February 1, 2009, Westbrook scored 34 points in an overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings. He made 7 of 18 field goals and 20 of 22 free throws. His 20 free throws were the most by a Kings opponent since the franchise relocated to Sacramento, California. He was also a candidate for the 2009 Slam Dunk Contest but lost in fan voting to Rudy Fernandez of the Portland Trail Blazers.
On March 2, 2009 Westbrook recorded a triple double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He was the first rookie to do so since Chris Paul in the 2005–06 season, and the third rookie player in Sonics/Thunder franchise history: Art Harris 1968–69 and Gary Payton in 1990–91. He finished fourth in the 2008/09 NBA Rookie of the Year voting behind Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), O. J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies) and Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets). Westbrook was named to the NBA's all-rookie first team, along with fellow UCLA classmate Kevin Love, who was named to the second team.
In his second year the Thunder made a huge turnaround from their first season, qualifying for the playoffs with a 50–32 record. During the season Westbrook averaged 16.1 points, 8.0 assists, and 4.9 rebounds. Westbrook became a significantly better passer; his improvement in the passing department was instrumental in the Thunder's turnaround. The Thunder were eliminated by the eventual world champion Los Angeles Lakers. In the series Westbrook stepped up his play, averaging 20.5 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.
On November 12, 2010, his 22nd birthday, Westbrook recorded 36 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists against the Portland Trail Blazers. Fourteen days afterward, on November 26, Westbrook scored 43 points, to go with 8 rebounds and 8 assists, against the Indiana Pacers.
Russell Westbrook being treated by trainers
On November 26, 2010, Westbrook scored 43 points against the Indiana Pacers. Westbrook was chosen as a Western Conference reserve for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game.
On December 1, 2010, he scored 38 points with 9 assists and achieved a new career-high of 15 rebounds in a triple-overtime win over the New Jersey Nets, a game played without Thunder co-star Kevin Durant due to injury trouble.
Westbrook finished the season improving in just about every statistical category, averaging 21.9 points, 8.3 assists, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.9 steals. Westbrook was named to the All-NBA Second Team for his strong year. The Thunder finished the season at 55–27, eventually losing to the eventual world champion Dallas Mavericks. Throughout the playoffs, Westbrook averaged 23.8 points, 6.4 assists and 5.4 rebounds.
On January 19, 2012 Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder agreed to a 5 year $80 million extension. On February 19, 2012, he scored 40 points in a win over the Denver Nuggets. On March 23, 2012, Westbrook scored a career-high 45 points in a double overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves 149–140. Westbrook was again voted to the All-NBA Second Team and was selected to the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.
The Thunder reached the 2012 NBA Finals, but lost in five games to the Miami Heat. In Game 4 of the finals Westbrook scored a playoff career high 43 points while shooting 20/32 from the field in a loss.
Senior national team
Westbrook is defended by Derrick Rose
in a Team USA scrimmage
In 2010 he took part in the FIBA World Championships held in Istanbul, Turkey. He played a pivotal role off the bench with his hustle and energy. USA won gold for the first time since 1994.
Westbrook later played at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where he won a gold medal.
In a July 2008 article, the Daily Oklahoman reported that when he was asked about his relationship with Brian Westbrook, Russell Westbrook responded that they were not related.
Westbrook is known for wearing red lensless glasses off the court.
Westbrook is a point guard. Westbrook has established himself as an elite athlete who constantly attacks the basket. When attacking the basket, Westbrook is also known for being able to pull up for the medium range jump shot or pass it out to an open teammate. Westbrook is capable of initiating the pick and roll, averaging 6.8 assists per game throughout his first four seasons. At 6 feet 3 inches, Westbrook is an above average rebounder, averaging 4.7 rebounds throughout his first four seasons. Westbrook is constantly able to get to the free throw line, contributing to the average of 19.0 points per game throughout his first four seasons. A minor weakness cited in Westbrook's ability is his three-point percentage; he has averaged .289 on three-point field goal percentage for his first four seasons.
NBA career statistics
Awards and recognition
- All-NBA Second Team, 2011–12
- NBA All-Star, 2011–2012
- 2009 NBA All-Rookie First Team
- 2008 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and Third-Team All-Conference
- Third-team All-State, first-team All-CIF Division I and two-time Most Valuable Player of the Bay League honors
- Scout.com rated Westbrook as the No. 2 shooting guard in the West and one of the top 25 shooting guards in the nation