Excitement and optimism dominated Russel Westbrook’s introductory press conference with the Washington Wizards. Here’s what you need to know.
No, you’re not dreaming. Russell Westbrook is officially a Washington Wizard. It still doesn’t exactly feel real. Whether or not you’ve completely processed the trade that sent John Wall to Houston and brought Russell Westbrook to Washington — a trade that Washington won, by the way — the Wizards are welcoming their new superstar as the season fast approaches. Westbrook’s time as a Wizard officially kicked off today when he fielded a barrage of questions from the media over a not-so-smooth Zoom call. Let’s hope those technical difficulties weren’t a sign of things to come.
Regardless, the Russell Westbrook era has officially begun for the Washington Wizards. Here are four takeaways from his introductory press conference.
Russell Westbrook is here to win.
Even after acquiring Russell Westbrook, pretty much nobody is picking the Washington Wizards to win the NBA championship this season. Nobody’s even picking them to win the East. Don’t tell that to Russell Westbrook, though. Make no mistake, Westbrook is in D.C. to win. When asked about his goals for the upcoming season, Westbrook stated it clear as day.
“If I’m not striving to win a championship, then what’s the point.” Westbrook explained that every season, his goal is to compete for a championship. That isn’t too surprising or impressive, really. It’d be noteworthy if Westbrook said he didn’t try to win a championship each year.
But when pressed about the specifics as to why Westbrook thinks the Wizards can win or why the Wizards were an attractive destination, Westbrook was a little vaguer. Besides high praise for Bradley Beal, who Westbrook called a “superstar talent” and “silent assassin,” no other teammates were mentioned. Although Westbrook said the team’s chances of winning and advancing deep into the playoffs are “really high,” he didn’t exactly explain why. Instead, we got some empty cliches. The Wizards have a chance of winning “as long as we put our effort, our energy, our time, and sacrifice our minds and our bodies,” according to Westbrook. Which isn’t exactly incorrect, I guess. Maybe that shouldn’t be surprising coming from Westbrook, who plays with such force at all times that he’s trying to will a win into existence.
It’s obvious Westbrook is here to win, even if he’s not sure how the Wizards will do it yet. It will be interesting to see how he reacts if the wins don’t start piling up, though. Throughout his 12-season NBA career, Westbrook has finished with more wins than the Wizards ten times.