“Russell Westbrook had the single greatest season ever!”
“Russell is unguardable!”
“He’s the MVP!”
The Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs last night after a game 5 loss to the Houston Rockets. The series was a tale of one player and two narratives.
Here are the game by game shooting stats for Russ:
Game 1 – 6/23 (26%) for 22 points (L)
Game 2 – 17/43 (40%) for 51 points (L)
Game 3 – 11/24 (46%) for 32 points (W)
Game 4 – 10/28 (36%) for 35 points (L)
Game 5 – 15/34 (44%) for 47 points (L)
Total – 59/152 (39%)
Narrative One (I disagree)
Russ has no help. He’s the only player on his team who can score and his teammates constantly defer to him, so he has to shoot. He’s also a freak athlete who can get to the rim at will so it works.
Additionally, you don’t average 10+ assists a game by being a gunner. He tries to get his teammates involved and get them easy buckets. But clearly the team falls apart when he’s on the bench because his supporting cast just isn’t good.
Narrative Two (I agree)
Russ does everything because Russ wants to do everything. His teammates defer to him because that’s the culture that’s HE’S created. And I don’t buy the 10+ assist metric because he has the ball on literally every play when he’s in the game, of course he’s going to get 10 assists, that doesn’t mean he’s not selfish.
Russ is a career 31% 3 point shooter. He took 49 threes in this series and made 13 of them (27%).
Could his team be better? Of course. But I think Russ is partially the CAUSE of his team being so bad. They’re not playing basketball, they’re playing give-it-to-Russ-and-see-what-happens. That works in the regular season, but you’re not making it far in the playoffs like that unless you have another star like KD to carry the team while Russ sits.
There’s a reason Kevin Durant left OKC. You can’t win a championship with a player like Russ dominating the ball like that, and he shows no signs of changing.
Keep shooting Russ! You may go down as the best player ever to not win a championship.