Anthony on criticism Westbrook is washed up: 'Watch basketball' originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Russell Westbrook has always been a lightning rod for criticism, often to his confusion and dismay. Lately, some of his online detractors have tried to proclaim he's past his prime after he began the season injured and now that he's playing on a losing team, his third team in three years.
Westbrook, though, has rebounded nicely from his slow start and is now averaging a triple-double - 21.6 points, 10.6 assists and 10.5 rebounds - while shooting his highest three-point percentage since 2016-17 (32.1%).
Is Westbrook the same player who won an MVP that season? No, but that doesn't mean he isn't still very good. And after playing against him, Magic rookie Cole Anthony finds all the talk Westbrook is over the hill to be completely ridiculous.
"That dude is a handful. Anybody that tries to disrespect him and say that he’s washed up needs to watch basketball. Watch him play," Anthony said.
"That dude is an animal. He competes on both ends of the floor and is just really, really good. Him and [Bradley] Beal both. You’ve just gotta give them their respect."
Westbrook and Anthony matched up on a series of plays in Wednesday's Wizards win and afterwards caught up with a postgame conversation. Anthony shared some details about what they discussed.
"I’ve known Westbrook since I was back in high school. He’s always been a supportive dude. He was just telling me ‘be you, be you, be aggressive and allow that to create for your teammates,'" Anthony said.
"Honestly, I told him ‘this summer, I’m trying to work with you.’ I want to work with as many of the elite talent that I can. He’s someone that has been through the whole path and is still doing everything that I want to do. I have nothing but respect for him. Shout out to Westbrook."
It sounds like Anthony will make an attempt to work out with Westbrook in the offseason. If Westbrook's reputation for hard workouts is legitimate, the rookie may be in for quite the experience.