Russell Westbrook is having a career season, averaging a triple-double so far to put his team in the playoff picture. The UCLA Phenom playing like a mad dog on the loose. We knew Westbrook could be great, but at times he seemed out of control with his game. This year, the 28-year-old is VERY in control of his game and looks like an early MVP candidate. Some analysts say that Russell Westbrook “cares more about NBA awards than winning a championship ring.” Even if that were true, that doesn’t change the reality.
Let’s take a look at Russell Westbrook numbers: he’s averaging 31.3 PPG, 10.6 Assist, 10.5 Rebounds, and a 30.24 PER. Can he keep it up for the rest of the year? Westbrook is the only superstar that can change the game on his team… so yes, he can keep it up. Russell’s usage rate is higher than anyone in the NBA at 42.1%, and His PER (Player Efficiency Rating) is the second highest in the league.
His stats have people amazed by what he’s doing because we’ve seen nothing like this. However, there are other things that people are missing with Russell Westbrook. Everybody is looking at the GOOD stats by Russell, but he might be actually overrated. Is he really putting his team in the best position to win?
Moreover, Russell Westbrook has been rugged from the field. The triple-double leader actually leading the NBA in shot attempts at 24.1 attempts a game. He’s taking all of those shots, but how many of them is actually going in? His field goal percentage is below average at 43%, which ranks him 93rd overall. Russell takes a lot of shots to get to that 30 PPG, which is a recipe for disaster.
Another new part of his game that he’s trying to implement (that’s unfortunately not working) is the 3-point shot. He’s averaging 5.5 three-point attempts a game and is only making 1.8 of them. That’s 33.5% (96th in the league), and sometimes those ill-advised threes cost them the game. For example, the Thunder were playing the Rockets and were down 1 point. Westbrook could have tied the game by driving to the hole or try to get a foul call, but he settled for the 3… which he air balled and evidently caused his team to lose the game.
Westbrook’s triple double stats come with a lot of baggage. He is averaging his career high in turnovers (5.5), which also happens to leads the league.
Westbrook’s greatest strength is his team’s biggest weakness. His sweet assists, his tenacious rebounding and his will to win is uncanny. However, that exact uncanny will to win is precisely why his team will suffer. A few nights ago when the Thunder played the Celtics, Russell had a pretty good game in the win with 37 points. Nevertheless, if one continued to look at the box score, they’d notice he had more shot attempts than the rest of his whole starting five combined.
Unfortunately, there’s a bit of a pattern from Westbrook, because he’s entirely too ball dominant to beat any tier 1 team consistently. Several days after their game against the Celtics, they played the Utah Jazz. In that game, Russell made 7 field goals with 27 attempts. The second highest attempts for the thunder starting five was 7. Again, Russell Westbrook has more field goal attempts than the entire starting 5 combined. In fact, more than half of OKC losses come when Russell has as much or more shot attempts than the rest of the starting 5 combined.
Russell Westbrook’ last game proved that his stats is over shining his team performance and causing games. Thunder played against Memphis without Mike Conley, but Russell Westbrook played that whole game only thinking about himself. He ended the game with 0 assists and had a 19 FG attempts (20 FG other 4 starters together).
The Real Reason Why Kevin Durant Left Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook has a great personal game and the killer instinct that we love so dearly is exactly why his team will suffer in the long haul. Kevin Durant wanted to leave the Thunder due to selfish play. Initially most were baffled at the remark, but after assessing Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, it becomes much easier to understand.
With a team filled with role players, most would say “He’s doing the best with what he’s been given.” But with that being said, he hasn’t given any of the “role players” a real chance to thrive. If Damian Lillard had that same mindset when his costar left (Aldridge), the NBA wouldn’t have witnessed one of the most remarkable and most improved players in recent memory, in CJ McCollum. The Thunder’s Steven Adams is on the rise, and he is a fierce competitor with a defense like no other, great hands, and underrated footwork. He’s shooting 58% from the field and is shooting a career-high 75% from the line. Adams can be a great help to Russell if given consistent opportunities.
This All-Star point guard is an amazing talent, and nobody should try to take that away. But possibly due to Westbrook’s fierce competitive drive, it becomes clear that his greatest strength is also his team’s biggest weakness.