Russell Westbrook- The Misconceived Point Guard

[author image=”” ]Allen Fields, Bronx, NY [/author]




As a freshman at UCLA, Russell Westbrook saw limited time as Darren Collison and Arron Afflalo played the bulk of the minutes. Even as a freshman not playing much, he never complained. In fact, according to the coaching staff, Westbrook showed a work ethic and desire to be great beyond his years.

After Afflalo’s departure, Westbrook’s minutes increased dramatically and so did his production across the board (3.4 ppg; 0.8 rpg; 0.7 apg. as a freshman to 12.7 ppg; 3.9 rpg; 4.3 apg. as a sophomore). This was the beginning of his growth as a player. Although Collison was the point guard, Russell led the team in assists (4.3).

After his sophomore year and with the blessing of his head coach, he entered the 2008 NBA Draft somewhat an unknown player. The buzz began around Westbrook when he started working out for teams. Words like explosive, freakish athleticism and work ethic became synonymous with his name. He impressed OKC’s staff so much, they selected him with the 4th overall pick. A surprise to many. What I find interesting is that the two years he spent at UCLA, he was listed in the media guide as a combo guard (PG/SG). Did Head Coach Ben Howland know something back then? Makes we wonder.

As we all know, the point guard position is the hardest to transition to from college to pro. Add the fact that he never played the position before and it’s more astounding what he has accomplished. Fast forward to the early NBA years, I can imagine the OKC coaching staff sitting down with Westbrook & telling him we are going to put the ball in your hands, you are our point guard. Westbrook’s response probably sounded something like this, “Cool, let’s do this.” Proponents will point to his high turnover rate but that simply comes with the package. The guy who handles the ball most will most likely have the most turnovers. He’s gotten better each season. His last two have been borderline historic. His stats speak for themselves (2014-15 {28.1 ppg, 8.6 apg and 7.3 rpg}; 2015-16 {23.5 ppg; 10.4 apg; and 7.8 rpg.}) but doesn’t tell the whole story.

He’s starting to really figure out how to maximize this aspect of his game. It’s one thing to be extremely athletic but Westbrook use of it makes him almost impossible to guard. He attacks the basket with such veracity, like the rim personally disrespected him. A basketball game is war and Westbrook is always ready to battle which he thrives on competition. There’s nobody I’d rather have with me in a foxhole. He plays so hard that the average fan does not even notice it. He never take plays off and all coaches really appreciates effort like Westbrook displays. He’s the guy you tell kids to watch. He’s the model. No matter if he’s having a great or horrible game, he plays with the same intensity.



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