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“It’s approaching ‘Stephon Marbury is going to China’” — Russell Westbrook should evolve ASAP if he wants to stay in the NBA

The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor made a wild comparison that seems more realistic by the day - Russell Westbrook as the 2020s Stephon Marbury.
New Jersey Nets guard Stephon Marbury and Los Angeles Lakers player Russell Westbrook

Stephon Marbury and Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has been the talk of the town in recent days. His poor showing in the first games of the season has contributed to the Los Angeles Lakers' 0-3 start. There is a growing belief around the league that if his poor play continues, he might find himself out of the NBA in no time.

An analyst even has an interesting analogy for Westbrook's situation.

"And if Westbrook doesn't make further changes, whether it's with the Lakers or his next team, he'll be out of the NBA," wrote Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer. "This is not a potential 'Chris Paul restoration project in Oklahoma City' type of situation. It's approaching 'Stephon Marbury is going to China' unless Westbrook evolves, pronto. A future Hall of Famer is right now an outright detriment to the franchise's hopes of making the playoffs. It's time to do something about it."

What happened to Starbury?

For the younger generation of fans, Marbury might be an unfamiliar name.

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The two-time All-Star was one of the most offensively talented point guards in the Association in the early 2000s. During his prime, he posted nearly 20 points and 8 assists per game. It was also common to see the 6-foot-2 point guard in highlight reels.

However, his constant clashes with his head coaches, desire to be a starter and generally selfish nature hampered Marbury's potential to find success in the NBA. After 13 seasons in the Association, averaging 19.3 points and 7.6 assists per contest, Marbury failed to draw interest from any franchise and took a hiatus in the 2009 offseason.

In 2010, the former No. 4 NBA draft pick announced that he was signing a contract with a Chinese Basketball Association team. He experienced a career renaissance as he eventually became the stuff of legends in China.

Will Westbrook follow suit?

Marbury was never as good as Westbrook. After all, the Lakers point guard is a former MVP and the NBA's triple-double king. However, it is not that difficult to see how the two point guards' careers are similar in several ways.

For instance, like Marbury, Westbrook has become an unwanted man in the league. Not even a first-round draft pick has enticed other organizations to absorb the expiring contract of the fourth overall selection of the 2008 draft.

But if he shows a willingness to change his game and come off the bench, some NBA teams might still find a use for him. But as KOC said, it has to happen pronto. 

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