For the first time since high school, Russell Westbrook won’t be wearing No. 0 on his back this coming season.
Westbrook was shipped to the Washington Wizards on Friday afternoon in a ground-breaking trade for John Wall and a lottery-protected first round pick.
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Westbrook said he had the opportunity to select his classic No. 0 jersey, but decided it was time to go a different route. The nine-time All Star will now don No. 4 moving forward.
Westbrook says the No. 4 is his favorite number because it reminds him of his family. The 2016-17 NBA MVP has a close relationship with his two parents and brother.
“That’s what I play for,” Westbrook told reporters.
Russell Westbrook said he had an opportunity to pick No. 0 but it was his first time to go back to his original No. 4. “Four is my favorite number,” he says. Says it reminds him of his family, which he has four members of. “And that’s what I play for.” He wore No. 4 in HS.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) December 5, 2020
The two-time All-Star MVP spent only one season in Houston before the Rockets felt it was time to move on. On the other side of the trade, John Wall had missed the previous two seasons for the Wizards with an Achilles injury. While Wall has reportedly looked fantastic in offseason workouts, Washington must’ve felt more secure bringing in Westbrook than waiting to see what their five-time All-Star can do in his return.
Bringing in the dynamic point guard doesn’t come without risks though. At 32 years old, Westbrook doesn’t have too many years of prime basketball left — especially with his game relying heavily on explosive athleticism.
Also, there’s always the issues with efficiency. Westbrook almost always puts up the numbers, but it’s usually through volume shooting. During his 2016-17 MVP season, the point guard lead the league on shot attempts per game — nearly 400 shots more than the next highest player.
This being said, Westbrook could be a better fit in Washington. Playing along side James Harden in Houston, Westbrook was eclipsed in field goal attempts. The ball-dominant point guard will certainly get more touches with the Wizards.
Bradley Beal was always a compliment player to John Wall. But, with Wall out the past two seasons, Beal has blossomed into an strong No. 1 option, averaging 30.5 ppg last year. It’ll be interesting to see if the shooting guard is willing to return to a No. 2 role with Westbrook entering the scene.
Westbrook will take the court with his new team and number when the Wizards face the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 13 in a preseason game.