On Tuesday night Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd compared Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook to boxing legend Mike Tyson.
“He is the [Mike] Tyson of basketball,” Kidd said before his team’s game against the Thunder per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “When the jump ball [goes up], he is coming as Tyson did [in getting] off the stool. When the bell rings, he’s coming for you. Whenever he’s on the floor, he plays at one speed, and that’s fast and hard.”
The comparison alone is fascinating and fun to think about, when you think about how Westbrook plays the game, you can compare it to the way a world class boxer would go about breaking down an opponent to get the knockout.
Westbrook likes to find his teammates early in games. Either by driving to the basket and dumping the ball under the basket to Steven Adams for a slam dunk or an easy layup or Westbrook will drive to the basket and kick the ball out to teammates out on the wings for either a long two or a three-point catch and shoot opportunity.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) October 29, 2017
If you watch a world-class boxer work, they like to go to the body in the earlier rounds to soften up their opponents body and legs which in return makes the opponent start to drop their hands so that in the middle to later rounds the world-class boxer can go for the knockout.
Westbrook goes at the oppositions “Body” early by assisting his teammates earlier in games so that the opponents “Body & Legs” their interior defense will “Soften” up which allows Westbrook in the third and fourth quarters “Middle to later rounds” to go for the knockout. As we saw last season with Westbrook becoming the clutches player in the NBA, In clutch time Westbrook led the NBA in fourth-quarter scoring In the 2016/17 season, averaging 10 points per game in the final period of games.
Part of the reason Russell Westbrook became so fantastic in the later parts of games is that he softened his opponents up with his version of a body shot. Assist early make his opponents respect his teammates so that they cant just focus their defense on him. Then go for his version of a knockout punch late in the fourth quarter. In 2016/17 Westbrook played like Tyson aggressive and ruthless. So maybe Kidd was right. Last season. This season Westbrook isn’t playing like Tyson. He doesn’t have to it’s not all on Westbrook anymore.
Westbrook has become controlled aggression, and that might just be more lethal than ruthless aggression something Mike Tyson was never able to achieve, and we all saw how that played out. We are in the middle of an evolution of historic proportion. This evolution can take Westbrook from a great player who did some landmark things and won an MVP or two to a legendary historical basketball player that you tell your grandchildren about.We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!