It’s hard to put into words on what we see with Russell Westbrook.
The man who was told he cannot do this for 82 games is in fact, doing it. His numbers are astronomical. His method is insane. His execution is downright frightening to his defenders. What Westbrook continues to do is carry this team on his back and into the playoffs.
this isn’t your Westbrook from two years ago where he led the league in scoring but missed the playoffs. That Westbrook was flawed in his execution. He wasn’t efficient. He fouled at one of the highest rates in the league. He turned it over without producing at an equal or greater clip. Yet, through everything that season his excellence was recognized. Finished fourth in the MVP voting through everything.
“I’m always amazed by everything Russ does,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said.
This season, it’s a complete Westbrook massacre and those who aren’t with him are against him. His shove of John Wall in the NBA All-Star game showed no venue is safe. Nor is any player that is on the court against him.
“I’m glad I’m not playing against him anymore,” Doug McDermott said.
Westbrook beats you off the dribble. He punishes the rim as if it did something to him in a past life. To opposing defenses, he thumps you and makes you respect his play afterwards.
“Westbrook is an aggressive player,” Portland guard Damian Lillard said. “You have to watch yourself and make sure you’re not caught up in his game.”
That’s what he does. In the fourth quarters, when it matters, Westbrook takes over and dominates. His 16 points in the fourth quarter against Utah kept the Thunder from an embarrassing loss. Time after time, when the Thunder needed it the most, the point guard from Long Beach has time and time again done everything in his power to win the game.
Can Westbrook do 41 triple-doubles in a season? He’ll have to do nine in 16 games. He has nine in his last 16 games already. It’s not a coincidence Westbrook and Thunder are 26-6 when he gets a triple-double. Oklahoma City is 60-9 all-time when he scores a triple-double.
“For Russell? Yeah! Easy, man,” Thunder guard Andre Roberson said. “Dude’s a beast. He’s a freak of nature.”
That freak of nature will push Oklahoma City into the playoffs and how ever far his teammates can hit shots throughout the post season. The inexperience can really handicap a team when it matters. Six of the top 12 in the rotation has never experienced what playoff basketball is about.
“My job is to put us in the best position to win,” Westbrook said.
He’s doing that and doing it with an inconsisent lineup. Oklahoma City has seen Victor Oladipo miss multiple games with injury. He’s seen other players traded and lost to injury as well. For everything Westbrook does, it always appears to be a hurdle in the way. He doesn’t seem to care.
“I just go play ball, man.” Westbrook. “I’m blessed to do this job.”
For his blessings, Westbrook is going to triple-double his way to the MVP. Westbrook is going to finesse his way into the playoffs and scare the pants off a team Oklahoma City might have no chance of beating.