Why Russell Westbrook is as great — and as inefficient — as ever

    Kirk Goldsberry (@kirkgoldsberry) is a professor and an NBA analyst for ESPN.

The Washington Wizards are one of the hottest teams in the NBA, and their enigmatic superstar, Russell Westbrook, is a big reason why. Monday, in Washington’s win over Indiana, Westbrook became the first player in league history to record his second 20-rebound, 20-assist game. Wilt Chamberlain is the only other NBA player to ever do it, and he did it only once.

Since arriving in D.C. in the offseason, Westbrook has led a cultural makeover that is now beginning to yield eye-popping results on the court.

Following Monday’s win over Indiana, the Wizards have now won 13 of their past 16 games and are surging toward the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.

The young Wizards have adopted the ferocious personality of Westbrook, who remains one of pro basketball’s most brash superstars. But the Westbrook era in D.C. didn’t exactly get off to a great start.

The Wizards stumbled out of the gate, winning just three of their first 15 games. They owned the worst record in the league on Jan. 30, after dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, weeks of contract tracing issues and multiple injuries.

But things have changed. Washington is 27-23 since that atrocious start, and is peaking at the exact right time. Starting with their win over the Orlando Magic on April 7, the Wizards have looked like a legit contender on both ends of the court.

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