Russell Westbrook Experiencing Growing Pains

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.

6 Responses

  1. Ken

    I certainly agree with your assessment of WestBrook. When he matures he’ll be a great player. He’s having growing pains just now but has all the tools to become a great player, it takes time as all good things do.

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  3. great points and agree. people are acting like before playoffs and before seaosn they had Thunder winning whole thing, people as myself forget so easy. if anybody said before playoffs started that the Thunder would get to WCF, everyone would say what no way Spurs vs. lakers, not Mavs vs. Thunder! so with that Thunder and Westbrook are fine and will be fine!
    Russell is in his 3rd year, not 9th!!
    good post!!

  4. Westbrook is a baller no doubt but I’m not to sure of his mental approach in big games the guy seems to get rattled easy and becomes a ball hog.. I actually see them looking to ship him to another team..

    • I don’t know if I agree with you on the mental approach to big games. I think he’s a guy who is just young. Part of being young is learning how to play in big games all the time. I don’t think its necessarily that he’s a ball hog. I think he just doesn’t know when to pick his spots. And that’s the maturation process he has to go through. And as far as Westbrook being shipped out, the only way that happens is if he doesn’t mature at the rate they like in Oklahoma City, he wants out or they just flat out can’t afford him. I don’t think they ship him out though. Who are you going to replace him with that has the potential that he has?

  5. Ocie Clelland

    Awesome article man! You are absolutely correct in your assessment of Westbrook. He has a lot to learn. The PG position is one of the most vital and hardest to learn. He will get better as time goes on.

  6. Derrel "Jazz" Johnson

    Enjoyed this post. Heard someone talking about having James Harden play more point and have Westbrook play off the ball on the offensive end more.

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