‘Never Played at NBA Level’: Charles Oakley Denounces Stephen A. Smith Over Russell Westbrook Critique

April 8, 2021 3:00 am

Russell Westbrook has been playing some of his best basketball this season. In his last 10 games, Westbrook has been on an incredible run, putting triple-doubles in seven games, and double-doubles in the other three. Westbrook has been showing why is one of the best players in the world. But these numbers coming during losses drew the ire of NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith.

Charles Oakley warns Stephen A. Smith

Former NBA All-Star Charles Oakley issued a stern warning to Stephen A. Smith. He noted that he understands that ESPN wants him to be one of their lead basketball analysts, but he needs to be careful with his takes. A player like Russell Westbrook puts up really strong numbers, and there is a reason the head coach has not asked him to change his style of play.

Mar 29, 2021; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (4) reacts after a three point basket against the Indiana Pacers during the fourth quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

READ MORE: Shaquille O’Neal Responds to Russell Westbrook’s Criticisms, Says Every Great Player Including Michael Jordan ‘Had to Go Through This’

“Stephen A. Smith, I know ESPN wants you to be the main lead and the guy who knows everything about basketball. You gotta hit the brakes on these guys. Westbrook is getting a triple-double. It might not be the best for his team, that’s up to the coaching staff.” 

Oakley defends Russell Westbrook

Oakley added that an analyst like Stephen A. Smith has almost zero influence on the coach’s decision. And the franchise seems happy with the coach, having not fired Scott Brooks yet. He criticized analysts for not having any experience having played in the NBA but feeling like that they have the right to comment on the sport, just because they have a journalism degree.

“They let him do what he do. A commentator can’t change the coaching style. They ain’t fired Brooks yet. So I think that some of these guys just over-talked about basketball never played at the NBA level. They figured because they got a degree, they can talk about this and that. You’ve got to be careful out here.”

READ MORE: Stephen A. Smith Admits Russell Westbrook ‘Would Be a Plus’ to the New York Knicks Despite Harsh Criticism

Can Russell Westbrook lead the Washington Wizards to the NBA playoffs? Currently, he is the leading attacking option for the Washington Wizards. The absence of Bradley Beal has forced Westbrook to step up his game in recent weeks, but the Wizards are still struggling in the Eastern Conference.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated. He still makes sporadic appearances on the show. During his undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts with a focus on International Relations, he wrote a thesis titled 'The Impact of Domestic and International Politics on Sports, Events, Organizations and Franchises'. When he isn’t writing about basketball or football, he is furthering his NBA MyCareer, attempting to surpass Bill Russell for rings in the game. He staunchly believes that Derrick Rose would be a Top-3 player today had he not gotten injured.

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