Russell Westbrook. Russell Westbrook Jr. is a 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) point guard who currently plays for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder. Since his first year in the league in 2008-2009, he has established himself as one of the most athletic players in NBA history. He attacks the basket relentlessly with an incredible ability to finish at the rim. With his opponents' expecting him to attack the rim, he frequently pulls up for mid-range jump shots. Russell also creates good scoring opportunities for his teammates as reflected in his averaging 7.0 assists per game for his career. Plus, he is one of the best rebounding guards in the league, averaging 5.1 rebounds. Add to that, his willingness to defend the opposing team's best guard, and you'll understand why Westbrook is widely recognized as one of the best all-around guards in the NBA.
Russell (born November 12, 1988) entered Leuzinger High School in Lawndale California as an unheralded 5-foot-8, 140-pound freshman point guard with size 14 shoes. He didn't start on his school's varsity team until his junior year, and didn't receive his first college recruiting letter until the summer before his senior year when he reached his adult height of 6' 3".
During his senior year, Westbrook averaged 25.1 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.3 assists and led his team to a 25-4 record. That same season, he recorded 14 double-doubles, scored 30 or more points on eight separate occasions, and registered a career-best 51 points at Carson on January 6, 2006. Westbrook did not attract much attention from top college basketball programs until Ben Howland offered him a scholarship to play for the UCLA Bruins after Jordan Farmar declared for the NBA Draft.
UCLA advanced to the Final Four during each of Westbrook's seasons with the team. In 2007, they lost to eventual national champion Florida, 76–66 and in 2008, they lost 78–63 to Memphis. After two years at UCLA, he decided to forgo his final two years and enter the 2008 NBA draft. He was selected 4th overall in the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics (who later became the Oklahoma City Thunder. He signed with the team on July 5, 2008.
On March 2, 2009 of his rookie season, Westbrook recorded his first career triple double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He was the first rookie since Chris Paul and the third rookie in Sonics/Thunder franchise history (Art Harris and Gary Payton) to record a triple-double. He averaged 15.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 steals on the season. He finished fourth in the 2008–09 NBA Rookie of the Year voting behind Rookie of the Year winner Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), O. J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies) and Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets). He was named to the NBA's All-Rookie First Team.
In his second year, and first season as a full-time starter, Westbrook went on to average 16.1 points, 8.0 assists, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 steals on the season. On April 4, 2010, he recorded 10 points and a career-high 16 assists in a 116-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Thunder made a huge turnaround by more than doubling their wins from the previous season and qualified for the playoffs with a 50–32 record.
And he continues to improve. Along with Kevin Durant, Westbrook will make the Thunder a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
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