Russell Westbrook's perfect advice for Wizards teammates entering their first playoffs

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Westbrook's advice for Wizards teammates entering their first playoffs originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Russell Westbrook is a bona fide All-Star teammate. Not only that, he’s no stranger to the NBA postseason either. He’s played in ten, yes, ten, NBA Playoffs over the course of his 11-year career. However, should the Wizards make it out of the NBA Play-In Tournament and into the playoffs this year, several players on the roster will be spring chickens when it comes to postseason play.

As a veteran player, Westbrook was asked what advice he would have for players like Rui Hachimura and others who haven’t seen the NBA postseason firsthand."[I would say] just to be himself. Rui’s a hell of a player, he does so many things his second season,” Westbrook said following Washington’s 115-110 victory over Charlotte on Sunday. “He’s not gonna play perfect, none of us are gonna play perfect. That’s the reality.”

It is crucial for young players not to psych themselves out after they go on a cold streak, especially come playoff time. Maintaining your poise is fundamental, says Westbrook. “A lot of times, a lot of players, young players, put so much pressure on themselves, and it’s not needed…The reality of the game comes down to guys missing and making shots, and that’s all part of the game as well.”

Related: What Westbrook told Beal after WIzards beat Hornets

Through his miraculous play with the Wizards this season, Westbrook has led Washington to the play-in tournament with a chance to qualify for their first playoff series since 2018. His accolades this season stack almost as high as he does: breaking the NBA triple-double record, averaging a triple-double for the fourth time in his career, and winning the NBA assist title top the list.

However, rookies and sophomores in the NBA, when facing up against some of the all-time greats in the postseason, understandably become nervous come playoff time. Westbrook still says that one attitude takes priority over all others when the lights are shining brightest:

“Going out and having fun is the most important part that [Hachimura] should be worried about. That’s it.”

Watch the Wizards try to clinch a playoff spot as they take on the Celtics this Tuesday, starting with Wizards Pregame Live on NBC Sports Washington at 8 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on TNT at 9 p.m.