The Oklahoma City Thunder lost in Game 5 against a veteran Dallas Mavericks team. The Mavs were just the better team in my opinion. They had the more assertive star and they also had more consistency down the stretch. The Thunder didn't play their best all series, especially Russell Westbrook. He did have a lot of turnovers and was hunting his shot a lot, but do I think he will grow and learn from this year's playoffs? Yes I do.
Russell Westbrook has been known to play a little out of control as he fearlessly attacks the basket and takes tough shots at inopportune times. But for Westbrook, he is still discovering himself. Westbrook hasn't been a PG for all that long in his career, let alone his life. Before being drafted by the Thunder, he played PG for only a short stretch during his sophomore year. He was much more of a combo guard. So, I understand his struggles to make decisions. I'm not trying to excuse them, I just understand what he's going through.
A lot of people have recently told me that he could be a SG in the NBA. That's not a good accessment. He's only 6'3", which is short for a SG. Imagine if he had to go against guys the size of Hawks SG Joe Johnson every night. Johnson would take him in the post and shoot over the top of him and overpower him at will. His advantages of size, explosiveness and speed as a PG would negated if he were a full-time SG. Westbrook's a PG and he will be a PG. That's just it.
When people compare him to Derrick Rose, that's not an accurate assessment. Rose scores a lot of points and is the leading scorer on his team, but if you ask Rose, he just says he does what he has to do to win. This year is the first year that Rose has taken as many shots as this and that's because he's the main playmaker and scorer on the Bulls team. The difference is, if Rose had a player the caliber of Durant playing alongside him, he would probably average a double-figure assists for the year. Rose has played PG his whole life, so he understands when to pick his spots a little more than Westbrook does right now.
For those detractors for Westbrook, I understand your disdain for the way he goes about things sometimes, but what you fail to realize is that he is still a work in progress. As time goes by and he continues to understand the position that he is in, I believe he will be a great PG in this league, but for now, we will continue to see him experience growing pains as he adjusts to life as an NBA PG.