Apparently John Wall and Russell Westbrook, two of the best point guards in the NBA over the last 15 years, never made any of their teammates better.
That's at least what Colin Cowherd seems to believe, as he explained on FS1's The Herd on Monday.
"John Wall has never made a teammate better," Cowherd said. "[Russell] Westbrook has never made a teammate better. Draymond Green has made every teammate he's ever played with better... Find me the teammate Westbrook's made better in his career."
Kind of an odd sentiment to share about two players who were near the top of the league in assists per game throughout their primes. Westbrook averaged over 10 assists five times in his career, while Wall did it three years in a row from 2014-17.
Several players, including Wall himself, took exception to Cowherd's hot take.
One player Kuzma might be referring too? How about Otto Porter Jr., who landed a four-year, $106 million contract with the Wizards after his first four seasons in the NBA. In his last two years with the Wizards before he was traded away for Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker, Porter shot 43.4% from three in 2016-17 and 44.1% from three in 2017-18. A lot of those were open corner triples Wall played a heavy hand in creating.
Then there's the off-court impact that's admittedly hard to quantify from the outside, but especially when Westbrook played in D.C., he seemed to leave a lasting impact on the team's young core.
Deni Avdija in March, 2022 after Westbrook's return with Lakers:
“That’s one of the biggest competitors I’ve ever been around. In the end of the game, he approached me and told me, ‘Hey, Deni, I’m going to kill you if you don’t play like that every game. I know what you’re capable of.’ He was really a big mentor for me in my first year and I learned a lot from him for sure.”
Rui Hachimura during Westbrook's lone season in D.C.:
"The first thing I noticed is he’s a great leader. He’s so vocal. He’s almost like a head coach. He always talks to us and he always talks to me. He’s a great guy. I like to play with him. He actually changed our energy, the team."
Evidently, this is not Cowherd's first dispute with either player. In Wall's case, the hot takes from Cowherd go all the way back to 2010 when he criticized the then-rookie point guard for doing "The Dougie" before his NBA debut.
These players aren't perfect. There are just criticisms for both Wall and Westbrook's games. Neither ever developed a consistent enough jump shot, or evolved their skills well enough as age and injuries took away their explosiveness. Neither player has won a championship or experienced a playoff run beyond the second round as the best player on their team.
But to say Wall and Westbrook never made anyone better? Next thing we know we'll start hearing about why Michael Jordan should've stuck with baseball.