Stephen Curry on Russell Westbrook: ‘I Respect How He’s Handled the Whole Year’

There may be no player in the NBA who has been as criticized this season as Los Angeles Lakers point guard Russell Westbrook.

The Westbrook criticism has gotten so immense that he has spoken out against his critics over the last week and talked about the ill effect it has had on him and his family.

Through all the noise, one player in Westbrook’s corner is Stephen Curry, who spoke to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes on Thursday about Westbrook, noting how “proud” he of Westbrooks’ ability to handle a tough season in the spotlight.

“I told him when we played them in L.A. a couple of days ago that I respect how he’s handled the whole year, just in terms of everything he’s been saying and how he’s been handling himself and protecting his family,” Curry told Yahoo Sports. “It is the nature of the beast. And in a certain perspective, they build you up to break you down. The real ones who have done amazing things in this league know what that means. He’s a professional, and I’m proud of the way he’s conducting himself, and I’m there for him.”

Curry and Westbrook just recently played each other, with the pair squaring off on Sunday evening in a Lakers 124-116 win over the Warriors. Curry ended the evening with 30 points, while Westbrook ended the night with 20 points on the opposing end.

The criticism of Westbrook has gotten to a point where his wife, Nina Westbrook, took to Twitter to call out Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless for being “extremely childish.”

Part of the reason for the seemingly never-ending Westbrook slander is due to the lackluster season the Lakers have had. The Lakers are fighting to stay in the playoffs right now, sitting at ninth in the Western Conference with a record of 28-37, just three games ahead of the 11-seed Portland Trail Blazers, but 5.5 games adrift of the eight-seed Los Angeles Clippers.

It’s also not been the best season for Westbrook personally, either. So far this season, Westbrook is averaging 18.3 points and 7.2 assists per game, well below his career averages of 22.9 points and 8.5 assists per game.

It hasn’t been all bad recently for Russ, though, as he joined the exclusive 23,000 point club on Wednesday night, just one of 33 players to achieve such heights in NBA history.

The Lakers will get the chance to improve upon that record on Friday night when they host the Washington Wizards (29-35) at 10:30 p.m.