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#pounditSaturday, August 8, 2020

Russell Westbrook

Mike D’Antoni optimistic Russell Westbrook will appear in Rockets’ scrimmages

Russell Westbrook rim

Russell Westbrook’s COVID-19 recovery appears to be going well based on comments made by coach Mike D’Antoni on Monday.

Westbrook announced a week ago that he tested positive for the coronavirus, but D’Antoni thinks he could be ready to play in at least some of the Houston Rockets’ upcoming scrimmages.

“Friday might be a little early, but that would be up to the medical staff and Russ himself and see how he feels days before,” D’Antoni said, via Mark Medina of USA Today. “Hopefully he’ll get in a couple of scrimmages and he’ll be ready for us to play.”

This is excellent news for both Westbrook and the Rockets. The guard was described as “ramping up” his activity over the weekend, so he should be in pretty good shape when he is ultimately cleared to rejoin his teammates. It bodes well for him being ready to go shortly after the restart formally begins, at the very least.

The 31-year-old guard has appeared in 53 games this season, averaging 27.5 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists per game.

NBPA producing social justice shirts with Russell Westbrook’s clothing line

Russell Westbrook rim

After some players were left disappointed by the NBA’s pre-approved jersey messages, the NBPA is stepping in with its own idea.

As first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic, the NBPA is collaborating with Russell Westbrook’s Honor The Gift clothing line to create a series of social justice-themed shirts with some messages not allowed by the NBA.

The NBA is allowing players to use social justice messages on their jerseys, but some players were upset that the list was pre-approved and they were not consulted about what is on it. Players won’t be able to wear these during games, but they could theoretically wear them upon arrival at the arena.

Westbrook, of course, is well known for his fashion sense. Despite that, it wouldn’t be a surprise for these shirts to have a more understated look to them given the message.

Russell Westbrook already ‘ramping up’ for season despite coronavirus diagnosis

It sounds like Russell Westbrook isn’t being held back much despite testing positive for COVID-19.

Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said Sunday that that Westbrook is in “good shape” and has already begun “ramping up” ahead of the start of the regular season despite his health issue.

Westbrook announced Monday that he tested positive for the virus and had been placed in quarantine. He said he was “feeling well” at the time, and if he’s already ramping up his physical activity it would seem he still is.

The star guard is averaging 27.5 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds per game this season. Once cleared to be around teammates, it certainly sounds like he might be poised for a quick return.

Russell Westbrook tests positive for coronavirus, placed in quarantine

Russell Westbrook rim

Another high-profile NBA star has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Russell Westbrook announced Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19 before the Houston Rockets left for Orlando. He has been quarantined and is “feeling well.”

Westbrook has not been with his Rockets teammates, most of whom are already in the Orlando bubble preparing for the restarted season. Westbrook and James Harden both had yet to travel to Orlando for personal reasons, and coach Mike D’Antoni had expected both to arrive within the next few days.

Westbrook will need to test negative twice before being cleared. At the very least, this throws his status for the start of the NBA restart into doubt.

The star guard had been averaging 27.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists per game prior to the NBA shutdown in March.

Russell Westbrook offended by low Bleacher Report ranking

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in three of the last four NBA seasons, but that was clearly not enough for the good folks at Bleacher Report.

The sports site released a piece on Saturday ranking the top 100 players in the league from the 2019-20 NBA season. In it, Westbrook, the Houston Rockets guard, was ranked No. 22. Some point guards that ranked ahead of Westbrook were Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, and Chris Paul. Khris Middleton and Jayson Tatum also controversially came in at No. 10 and No. 11, respectively.

In an Instagram comment, Westbrook appeared offended by his low ranking and responded by laughing hysterically. Take a look:

Westbrook’s assist and rebound stats have been down slightly during his first season with the Rockets. But he has developed a more efficient style (posting a career-high 47.4 percent shooting) while still ranking seventh in the league with 27.5 points per game. Westbrook is also shooting fewer threes and is helping cultivate winning basketball next to James Harden.

Many around the NBA think that the former MVP Westbrook is disrespected, and this low ranking will certainly provide further fuel for that narrative.

5 NBA players who need to win the championship the most

Giannis Antetokounmpo

It almost feels like there’s even more at stake in this year’s NBA playoffs than usual. Due to the pause in NBA action, teams that will be involved in the playoffs have had extra time to think ahead and plan and consider the repercussions of what a bad playoff run could mean. Multiple superteams will feel that they don’t have an indefinite amount of time to win a championship. Players are inching closer to free agency. Some teams, as built, may not be able to continue to exist in their current form.

Which players really need to win a title sooner rather than later? These five could face serious consequences if things don’t go their way in the postseason.

(more…)

Paul George shares how close he and Russell Westbrook are

Paul George

Paul George and Russell Westbrook teamed up on the Oklahoma City Thunder for two seasons before George sought a trade to the LA Clippers. George’s trade also led the team to deal Westbrook and break up the Thunder as we knew them.

During his time in OKC, George became extremely close with Westbrook.

“I was only (in OKC) two years. But you know, during those two years I loved Russ as a brother,” George said during an appearance on Kevin Hart’s ‘Cold as Balls’ program. “I have so much love for Russ. I mean, I was the first phone call after I had word of what was going on and the possibility of leaving, and I had that call with him. You know, he supported me 100 percent. We talked it out and we made the moves necessary to go elsewhere.”

Westbrook ended up traded to Houston while George teamed up with Kawhi Leonard on the Clippers.

Westbrook showed all kinds of support to George. He threw him a party to get him to agree to re-sign with the team. Westbrook also backed George heavily over an All-Star snub in PG’s first season with OKC, which made a big impression on George. After that kind of support, you can understand why George still feels the brotherly love from Westbrook even though they’re on different teams now.