Russell Westbrook Has to Learn to Defer to Kevin Durant
Allen Iverson, Kyle Watson, The Fresh Prince Will Smith, Scott “Teen Wolf” Howard, and now Russell Westbrook all have something in common. These five guys all craved the spotlight and played selfishly as a result. What separates them (besides three being fictional and one being a wolf) is that only one has the reigning two time NBA scoring leader as a teammate and only one still has time to atone for his selfish acts.
Russell Westbrook became a full fledged star this season. His stellar play this year not only earned him a trip to the all star game, but merited his inclusion within the best point guard discussion. Somewhere along the way though, Westbrook forgot that there was another all star on his team who’s in the best player in the world discussion in Kevin Durant.
Westbrook’s scoring prowess, once a welcomed gift has become an unwelcome curse of late. There isn’t any doubt that Westbrook is the preferred choice as Oklahoma City’s second option, but the current extent at which he shoots is not at all acceptable.
Consider that Westbrook has made 49 of 124 shots in this playoff campaign to Durant’s 60 of 125. During the regular season, Westbrook averaged 17 shots per game to Durant’s 19.7. In the playoffs, Durant has increased his shots to 20.8 while Westbrook is now at 20.7 per game. You don’t have to be John Hollinger to see something’s wrong there.
After Westbrook’s 30 shot catastrophe in game four of the Thunder’s first round series, the TNT studio crew pegged him as playing “hero ball.” I beg to differ, with “zero ball” being my preferred term. Zero ball means there’s zero percent of him passing the ball when he should and he’s played as if there are zero options besides himself. In order for the young Thunder to succeed, Westbrook will have to play hero ball. There’s room for two heroes on this team. He’ll have to realize he’s Robin and Kevin Durant, he’s Batman.