If you thought Russell Westbrook was a controversial NBA star before, wait until he was a year old in Los Angeles. The nine-time All-Star has spent the past two years on various teams, but will now find himself in the domestic spotlight more than ever with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Appearing on Fox Sports Undisputed, Skip Bayless explained in detail why he thinks Ben Simmons is a better player than Russell Westbrook.
“Westbrook has always been extremely overrated as a winning basketball player. That’s why KD ultimately couldn’t stand it anymore. Ben Simmons has always been subtly underrated as a winning basketball player.”
While Simmons has continued to be the topic of NBA offseason conversation, it’s a somewhat alarming take by Bayless. If we are only talking about wins and losses, the two compare favorably. Simmons has a career record 178-97 (.647) over four seasons, with the Sixers having made the playoffs three times. Westbrook, meanwhile, has a career record 567-376 (.601) over thirteen seasons, with his teams making the playoffs eleven times.
If you dive a little deeper, the numbers get even more interesting when you compare the two. Although Simmons hasn’t been in the NBA for as long as Westbrook, he’s never seen his team make it through the second round of the playoffs. Russell Westbrook, who has been known as one of the fiercest contenders in the NBA, has made it to the conference finals four times during his career as well as an NBA Finals appearance.
Some would say that the best players show up when the stakes are at an all-time high. That was the case for Westbrook, who racked up some impressive NBA playoff numbers. In 11 years, Russell has averaged 24.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game while shooting 40.8% from the field. Ben Simmons respectfully racked up 13.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game while shooting 57.1 percent from the field.
After a year in which Westbrook put on one of the NBA’s most impressive second-half basketball presentations, he now finds himself on a talented Los Angeles roster along with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It’s no secret that the Lakers will be one of the NBA’s most dangerous championship contenders this year. Given Westbrook’s pedigree and competitive nature, he should be a welcome addition in preparing LA for a thorough playoff run.