Russell Westbrook says he deserves an All-Defense selection (He doesn't)

In Russell Westbrook's opinion, there aren't many defenders better than him. His opinion might be a bit off.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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At first, the James Harden experiment sputtered. Now, it's smooth sailing in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Clippers are on a nine-game winning streak, their longest stretch of consecutive wins since the 2015-16 season. In light of this, one Clipper in particular wants some credit.

Since the Clippers have such a surplus of scoring options, Westbrook has sacrificed his starting position. Now, his defense is being called upon more than ever. Judging by his response after the Clips' latest victory over the Mavericks, Russell Westbrook is very confident in that area of his game.

After the Clippers' 120-11 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, Russell Westbrook told the LA Times' Andrew Greith, "Ain’t too many people defending better than me at this point if we keeping it honest.” When the 2017 MVP was asked if an All-Defensive nod would be validating, Westbrook responded, "I don’t need it but unfortunately I haven’t had one because I don’t know. I’ve been very deserving of it."

In his last outing against Dallas, Westbrook had a team-high 2 steals. His 1.1 steals per game rank fifth among Clippers players, while his 6.2 rebounds are second only to Zubac's 9.3. Admittedly, watching Westbrook wrap up his impressive, probably Hall-of-Fame career with his first All-Defensive honors would be a storybook ending. However, we might have to chalk this up to media hype, and/or postgame elation-induced hysteria, seeing as the Clippers finally beat the 'Luka Doncic owns them' allegations. 

During last night's game, Luka shot 2-11 from three and 9-25 from the field. There is no question that this boosted the Clippers' defensive ego. In reality, Westbrook's 111.9 defensive rating ranks lowest on the team among Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and James Harden. (I can understand PG and Kawhi, but Harden, really?)

Per the NBA's revised CBA, players must play in at least 65 games to be considered for end-of-season awards. That being said, if a player like Draymond Green misses the 65-game threshold, Westbrook may be able to sneak into the running. Although the Clippers look impressive, and Westbrook has revitalized their second unit, claiming Russ is all-defense is a stretch.

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