Sports Illustrated recently published part of its rankings for the top 100 players for the 2021-22 NBA season, and Los Angeles Lakers newcomer Russell Westbrook took a big dip compared to his position in last year’s rankings.
He came in at No. 34 on the list after being ranked No. 25 last year.
“Westbrook is always one of the hardest players to rank in an exercise like this,” wrote Rohan Nadkarni. “Seemingly through brute force, Russ is going to put up numbers. If there was ever a chance for Westbrook to own the narrative about his style of play, it will be this season playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.”
Some fans might be somewhat surprised to see Westbrook fall in the rankings after averaging a triple-double in the 2020-21 season. A lot of folks feel that the 32-year-old’s greatness is taken for granted.
However, Westbrook’s projected role on the Lakers was likely a factor in his positioning in the rankings. That would make a lot of sense, as the nine-time All-Star likely won’t be asked to carry as big of a load with the Lakers as he did with the Washington Wizards.
Westbrook averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds and 11.7 assists per game last year. He made 43.9 percent of his shots from the field and 31.5 percent of his shots from deep.
The veteran has accomplished a lot in his career, but he’s still searching for his first NBA title. He’ll have a chance to check that box in the upcoming season with L.A.