x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Russell Westbrook should be encouraged not criticised

As a point guard, critics say Russell Westbrook shoots too much and is not a good passer. They are right, but Steve Dilbeck points out that Westbrook's positives are too good to ignore.

Critics say that Russell Westbrook, for a point guard, shoots too much and is not a very good passer. Other say that he is young, will improve, and it would be wrong to rein in his athletic ability.
Critics say that Russell Westbrook, for a point guard, shoots too much and is not a very good passer. Other say that he is young, will improve, and it would be wrong to rein in his athletic ability.

 

Russell Westbrook does not fit the traditional mould. He does not aspire to look and play like a classic pass-first point guard.

The Oklahoma City Thunder guard is seriously athletic. He does not jump, he flies. He does not spurt, he rockets. He can look like a Ferrari darting through a lane full of Toyotas.

Yet after he struggled to find his shot in the NBA finals, critics lined up.

He took 50 shots in the first two games, which was more than any other player on either the Thunder or the Miami Heat. More than teammate and three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant. More than league MVP LeBron James.

Westbrook made only 20 of those shots in the first two games, then went eight-for-18 in Game 3.

So the cries have gone out: he shoots too much, he does not facilitate the offence, he does not do that maestro thing like Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics.

No, he does not. He can pass well, but sometimes he takes a reckless shot. Sometimes he forces things. Sometimes he can spiral out of control.

Which does not make him much different than every other young player. It is just that most other players cannot do the things Westbrook does. He puts the ball in the basket.

Despite the poor shooting, after three games Westbrook is averaging 24.3 points, 7.3 assists and seven rebounds.

With a still-evolving player like Westbrook, you take the good with the bad. And there is plenty more good.

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