Russell Westbrook has been often criticized throughout his NBA career, but Bradley Beal offered high praise to his Washington Wizards teammate:
Westbrook came to D.C. this offseason in a trade that sent John Wall to the Houston Rockets. Though the guard has been in and out of the lineup, he has played well when healthy with averages of 19.3 points, 9.7 assists and 9.5 rebounds per game.
After a 6-17 start to the season, the Wizards have won four straight games entering Monday.
Beal is in the midst of his best season in the NBA, leading the league with 32.9 points per game.
"My job is to make sure to continue to push him and bring the best out of him every night," Westbrook said of Beal, per Royce Young of ESPN, after Saturday's victory over the Trail Blazers.
Westbrook has taken on a leadership role with the mostly young roster, which head coach Scott Brooks also appreciates.
"The guy's a championship player. How he prepares. How he talks to our guys," Brooks said. "He forces the team to be ready."
The 32-year-old has been a divisive figure in his 13 years in the NBA, producing elite individual numbers but leaving question marks about his inefficiency and inconsistency. His nine All-Star selections and one MVP award are sometimes overshadowed by his teams' limited success since separating from Kevin Durant with the Thunder.
While fans can continue to debate Westbrook's status, the Wizards are clearly happy with the guard so far in 2020-21.