|Posted by James FitzGerald IV on December 26, 2012 at 3:20 PM|
Russell Westbrook is one of the most dynamic Point Guards that the NBA has ever seen. He is easily one of the top 10 players in the NBA today. In his 5th season in the league and has proven to be one of the league's most durable players. This season he is averging 21.4 ppg , 4.8 rebs , 8.5 asst. The 8.5 asst is a career best for him. He is a big part of the success that the Oklahoma City Thunder enjoy. Also to, he has been a lightning rod for criticism by media and hoop fans. People feel that he is an out of control player, or that he brings tension into the relationship between himself and superstar forward Kevin Durant. He has been categorized as a shoot first point guard, and many people feel like that mentality at the point guard postion cannot translate into championships. Let's breakdown the pros and cons of his game and see if that is really the case.
Pros: At 6'3 he has pretty good size on his side. The explosiveness he displays along with his size is unmatched at his position. There are very few, if any, point guards who can stay in front of him 1 on 1. This allows him to get into the lane at will. It is very understandable why he has taken 26 more shots than Kevin Durant because, simply, no one can guard him. He is always a threat to score against opposing point guards. He can constantly attack the rim which allows him to get to the free throw line where he is shooting a shade under 80% (79.2%).
Defensively his wingspan and quickness make him tough to get around. He leads the Thunder in steals with a total of 56. His leaping ability allows him to contest shots. His athletic intangibles make him the best all around athletic point guard in the league!!
The Cons: At times it seems as though he does not know when to temper his game. When he is having a bad shooting night he never seems to change his game up and become more of a facilitator. He has taken the most shots on the team with 496, which is 26 more shots than leading scorer Kevin Durant. One can understand why he would take so many shots; he is a one man matchup problem. However, his field goal percentage of 40.1% is horrible. He has the lowest field goal percentage of all players with at least 650 minutes logged and 983 floor minutes.
This is why people get frustrated with Russell Westbrook when it is all said and done. He can be the most explosive player on the floor but sometimes at the detriment of the team. If he could just get control of his game and gauge between when he needs to go for his, and when to defer to the team and especially Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook could become the type of point guard that you would consider building your team around.
In the end, I dont see why he cant be part of a championship team, as long as he is not the focal point. He has a hard time giving the ball up to a player that is better than him, why am I to think he would give it to someone lesser than him. Though he helped get the Thunder to an NBA Finals last season, I think it will be a tall task for the Thunder to repeat as Western Conference Champions again this season. If I was a GM I would not consider making him the superstar of the franchise. He is definately a Robin, never to be considered a Batman!
Though, in his mind, he is Batman.