Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has put the team on his back as of late, and there is absolutely no denial that the man is a superstar in every way.
Ranking #1 in the league when it comes to points per game at 30.9, #2 in assists at 10.5, and #11 in rebounds with 10.7, there is no debate that Westbrook is a great individual player.
Could an argument be made that Wesbrook’s stats are fluffed? That he isn’t all he’s made up to be by the media? Let’s check it out:
Westbrook Ranks #2 in Turnovers Per Game
Westbrook handles the ball a significant amount of time more than anyone else on the Thunder, and because of that, he only trails James Harden when it comes to the most turnovers per game in the NBA.
With great individual stats come a few poor ones, and this is the worst one in Westbrook’s stat line. Over the course of his career, Westbrook has averaged 3.8 turnovers per game, and the 2016-17 season is his worst year (in terms of ball handling) by a full turnover.
Westbrook Scores Because of an Absurd Amount of Shots
There is no hiding the fact that Westbrook may be the current biggest ball hog in the league. In fact, during an interview with Kobe Bryant, he noted that Westbrook has the most potential to be the next “Kobe” presence.
As of Monday, Westbrook has taken a total of 998 shots, averaging 23.76 a game this season. The next highest in the NBA? DeMar DeRozan at 852 total shots.
Westbrook is currently the only player on the Thunder averaging 20+ points per game, but can we blame him, considering the lack of talent supporting him? Yes, we can.
When you take into facts that Kevin Durant was on your squad as of last year (and many years before that), there is no excuse to why two of the most dominant superstars couldn’t run over teams like the Grizzlies, Spurs and Warriors (recent playoff losses) in the past.
Thunder are in Playoff Contention….Due to Medicore Conferance Play
This is not a knock on the West as a whole, considering that I’m a firm believer in the fact that the West is a much harder conference to succeed in than the East. With that, this is a knock on every team seeded at #8 and below.
The Thunder currently sit in 6th in the West, with a record of 25-17. While the record itself is not bad, are they as good as their seed number appears?
Literally every team seeded at #8 or below at the moment is below .500. While the Thunder do have bright spots in the lineup, they will eventually get torched by teams like the Warriors, Spurs, Clippers, Rockets, and maybe even suffer some losses to the Jazz or Trail Blazers.
Once again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with loving Russell Westbrook, as he is one of the most dynamic players in the league. With the spotlight comes fans, as well as critics.