Russell Westbrook has been making plenty of headlines lately; the superstar point guard committed his immediate future to the Oklahoma City Thunder and questions about his deteriorating relationship with Kevin Durant just keep popping up.
However, what shouldn't be lost in all the chaos is exactly how good Westbrook is. He became a serial triple-double threat last season and exhibited impressive averages of 23.5 points, 10.4 assists and 7.8 boards a night.
He's quite clearly one of the best players in the NBA today and after inking a new two-year deal for the Thunder with a player option for the third year, he has a chance to lead the franchise in a post-Durant era.
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Will he go on to be one of the greatest players of all time? If he can continue along his current trajectory then there is no reason why he can't be in the conversation when everything is said and done.
A ringing endorsement from the man widely regarded as the greatest of all-time doesn't hurt, either.
Michael Jordan told Complex's Russ Bengtson that he sees a lot of himself in the five-time All-Star.
"Thirty years ago, that's me," he said of Westbrook. "The attitude, trying to prove myself, showing so much passion for the game of basketball. You see it in his play. You can tell he loves the game, he plays with energy and flair."
To Westbrook, to be compared to the G.O.A.T in any kind of way was hard to fathom. He told Sportingnews.com that hearing such praise only motivates him even more.
"That's crazy," Westbrook said. "I really don't know what to say. To have the best player who ever played the game to say that about you as a player and as a person is something that is going to keep me striving."
Can the Thunder reach new heights with Westbrook now their out and out leader?