Will Russell Westbrook Go Down As The Best Player Without A Ring? by Chris Allen
Russell Westbrook is a walking triple-double threat & highlight sensation. However, Westbrook's success hasn't translated to a championship ring.
Russell Westbrook is a walking triple-double threat and highlight sensation. His high motor, scoring ability, and basketball IQ allow him to accumulate points, rebounds and assist at a high rate. What was an impossible goal to achieve, averaging a triple-double in a season, is now an expectation. However, Westbrook's success hasn't translated to a championship ring.
As this 9-time All-star, two-time scoring champion, 2017 MVP, two-time NBA All-Star MVP, and 9-time All-NBA selection is 32 years old at 6'3; it is safe that his remaining years at a high level are numbered. If Westbrook stops playing the game right now, he would be 12th all-time in assists, 30th all-time in steals, 39th all-time in points, and 121st all-time in rebounds. So if Russell Westbrook doesn't get a championship ring, he will go down as one of the greatest players, if not the best player, never to win a championship.
The last time Westbrook was in the finals, it was against the big three, and the Miami Heat. I believe that no one in the organization knew that James Harden would potentially become the third-best shooting guard of all time. Since 2017 the Oklahoma City Thunder haven't made it out of the first round. There are a few factors why Westbrook doesn't have a championship. Whether it's Westbrook's contract that he's midway through, five years $206,794,070 with the average salary at $41,358,814, that's a massive price of available cap space to place the championship talent around.
The second factor is that the organization only built around Westbrook for two years after Kevin Durant left. Although OKC was able to acquire Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, they both struggled that season. Melo's game wasn't compatible with Russ, and Paul George battled through injuries and personal issues all season.
Russ left OKC to go to the Houston Rockets and play alongside Harden, but by then, the Rockets weren't as competitive as the rest of the Western Conference. Now that Westbrook's best days are behind him, his window to win it all is small. However, when you consider everything he's done on the court, he's a champion without a ring. I believe that if an organization had strategically built around Westbrook while at the same time reducing the amount of his contract to about $35 million a year, Westbrook would've had more chances to compete for a championship ring.