Russell Westbrook is quickly turning from one of the most criticized players in the NBA into one of today’s most celebrated. Westbrook has stepped into the elite territory of someone who is capable of setting basketball social media into frenzy almost every night he is playing.
In Westbrook’s early years he heard all the knocks for his style of play: He doesn’t pass enough, he should defer to Kevin Durant more often, or former teammate James Harden ran the offense better through his hands. Throughout all the noise, Westbrook never changed who he was and Oklahoma City deserves credit as well for allowing him to grow into the player he is today.
Westbrook had the buy in of his most important teammate Kevin Durant, and the two recognized each other has a dynamic duo, not a power struggle that outsiders tried to create. Sure there were ups and downs, just like any player’s career, but now Westbrook has seemed to figure it all out.
That is why now, with Durant sidelined for an unknown amount of time, Oklahoma City has no problem looking at Westbrook to take on an even bigger role.
Russell Westbrook has always been a great basketball player. However, earlier in his career people tried to mold him into something that he is not.
Westbrook is not a “prototypical” point guard and he never will be. Instead Westbrook is the first of his generation, he is transcending what it means to play the point guard position in a day and age where more and more players have blended their position titles based on their skill sets.
Westbrook is the most athletic person to ever play the point guard position. That may be a bold statement, but no play Westbrook has made in his career has confirmed this more than during the first quarter of Oklahoma City’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
Westbrook took an inbounds pass coast to coast in a blur, took off from about seven feet from the basket and dared anyone to try to jump with him as he slammed the ball home with authority with two hands.
Westbrook has been doing things like this his whole career with his rare athleticism that you would never expect from a point guard.
Westbrook’s motto, he does not get tired, is the best way to describe his play style. He plays angry and looks almost out of control to the viewer, but he always seems to know exactly what he is trying to do. Right now this could not be more evident as he is in the middle of one of the best stretches of his career.
With Durant missing time with a foot injury, Westbrook has been doing it all for the Thunder as he now leads the league in scoring with 27 points per game. He also had recorded four straight triple-doubles heading into last night’s matchup with the Chicago Bulls.
Now that Westbrook is playing out of his mind, if Durant can return healthy for the playoffs, Oklahoma City will be a force to be reckoned with. It is only fitting that Westbrook has been wearing a mask to protect a bone in his face he had surgery to repair because he has played like a super hero this season.
Oklahoma City would like to see more of these heroics as Oklahoma City tries to improve their playoff standings down the stretch.