For years, Russell Westbrook has been labeled the hotheaded ball hog that plays like Robin but thinks he is Batman. This description is obviously an exaggeration but it is not that far from the truth. Westbrook simply could not win.
When he played great, people said that he was taking the ball away from Kevin Durant. When he played badly, they said Durant was the better player. It was a lose-lose situation for the perennial All-Star until this season.
This season has been a different story, with Westbrook in the driver’s seat due to Durant’s nagging injuries. Westbrook took the opportunity to prove that he is, in fact, a superhero and not just a sidekick.
Westbrook’s superpowers are displayed every night on the hardwood. He is simply the most athletic player on the court almost every night. The league has not seen such a unique specimen at point guard since Magic Johnson.
If you don’t believe me just take a look at the numbers the Oklahoma City superstar is putting up every night. He is averaging 27.4 points, 8.3 assists and 7.1 rebounds. Those numbers are unfathomable. In fact Westbrook is averaging more points, rebounds and assists than James Harden, Stephen Curry and LeBron James.
Westbrook is simply playing on a different planet right now. He has recorded a triple-double in five of his last six games. However, even in the game he had come up short, he still managed to put up 43 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
What does all this say about Russell Westbrook? The man is a superstar and he deserves to be treated like one. Kobe Bryant has taken a ton of ridiculous and unnecessary shots throughout his career and yet he is still considered a top-10 player of all-time. Why is Westbrook consistently held to a different standard?
The bottom line is that the Thunder have two legitimate superstars. It is up to the organization to figure out how to use that to their advantage. It would be a shame if Durant left in free agency before ever winning a title with Westbrook as his teammate.
Westbrook may be a hothead but frankly he can do so much more than Durant. Westbrook is better in transition, driving to the hole, playing defense and is an all-around better athlete. Durant may be the smarter player and the better scorer but the difference in skillsets has narrowed dramatically over the last couple years. Westbrook is a superstar and he is here to stay.