What milestone did the Lakers’ Russell Westbrook achieve in the 121-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets?
Despite the fact that he’s been under constant fire, the Lakers point guard wrote his name in the history books during his latest performance.
Though multiple reports over the last season could lead you to think the opposite, Russell Westbrook is still a very good basketball player. Indeed, the Lakers point guard reminded all of us of the fact when he made NBA history on Monday night.
Russell Westbrook climbs NBA all-time assists ladder
It’s safe to say that Russell Westbrook’s time in Los Angeles has not been a smooth ride. Whether it’s criticism from fans, reported heat from teammates including LeBron James, or out of place comments from owner Jeanie Buss, the fact remains that there has been more negative press about Westbrook than there has been positive. Yet, on Monday night Westbrook achieved a milestone that’s worth of recognition despite the fact that the Lakers fell to a 121-104 loss against the Brooklyn Nets.
Where the record itself is concerned, the 2016-17 league MVP advanced to No. 10 spot on the all-time assists list, surpassing Hall of Fame guard Gary Payton who registered 8,966 assists during his career. On the night, Westbrook put up a double-double with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists which took his career assists total to 8,972. Speaking after the game, he couldn’t hide his satisfaction, but also spoke of how humbling it the achievement is. “In the NBA, I never dreamt of being in this position, nor getting to the point to where I’m next to some of the greats,” Westbrook said. “I’m just truly grateful and thankful for an opportunity to keep playing at the highest level and I don’t take any of it for granted. ...From where I grew up at to be sitting here and if someone would’ve told me 15 years ago that I’d be sitting here top 10 in assists, I’d look at them like they were crazy.”
Assists are a specialty for Russell Westbrook
While it may surprise you to know, Westbrook has actually led the NBA in assists in three seasons. The most recent of those, came in 2020-21 while he was playing for the Washington Wizards. Indeed, the nine-time All-Star and member of the NBA 75th Anniversary Team, sits just 94 assists off of Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas’ 9,061 assists, which would take him to ninth place. Incidentally, Westbrook’s teammate and current Lakers icon, LeBron James is positioned a little higher up the list in sixth place, with a grand total of 10,327. Worth mentioning is the fact that James is also chasing down Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time points record as well. In case you’re wondering, the Lakers duo along with the Suns’ Chris Paul - 3rd on the list with 11,257 assists - are the only active players currently in the Top 10. Ultimately, whether you love or hate him, you can’t argue against the idea that Russell Westbrook knows how to assist.
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