Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook is putting the finishing touches on a once-in-a-generation statistical season, but it might not benefit him in the long run. Yes, he’s about to average a triple-double, but to do so he’s had to emphasize some unflattering aspects of his game – the kind that might make other star players steer clear of Oklahoma City. Colin Cowherd explained on Monday’s episode of “The Herd” why Westbrook might be hurting his long-term chances for success.
In fact, they tell two different stories
“You can tell two statistical stories with Russell Westbrook, and they’re both true. He leads the NBA in shots by over 350. He’s second in the NBA in turnovers. He’s the third-worst point guard in the NBA -- among starting point guards -- in field-goal percentage. He has the lowest percentage in the NBA – dead l last – in contested shots. He doesn’t guard his man. These are all absolutely true, but if you like Russell Westbrook, you don’t want to hear those. You just want to talk triple-doubles. Those are also true.”
Russell Westbrook is like the city of Miami
“Russell Westbrook is similar to the city of Miami. I can line up truths about both. And if you live in Miami you’d be offended, and if you didn’t live in Miami you’d say, ‘Oh, yeah, those are true.’ I can tell you the good about Miami. It’s second in tourism in the United States, in tourism among international visitors. I can tell you it has the No. 1-ranked beaches, no state tax, the No. 2 night life in the United States. That part of Miami is true.
I can also tell you they have the sixth-worst congestion among major cities in America. Their public school ranking? Below average. Third-worst income inequality – it’s a city of haves and have nots. Oh, yeah, they get hit by hurricanes. Those are also true. My wife would never raise our kids in Miami. I’d move there tomorrow. It just depends on how you see the world.”
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The same thing happened to Kobe Bryant
“When people say I’m critical of Russell Westbrook, I’ve never once not acknowledged how dynamic a talent he is. But KD left, and Kobe Bryant, in glamorous Los Angeles, has struggled to get teammates. Shaq’s like, ‘Get me out of here.’ Dwight Howard’s, ‘Get me out of here.’ Pau Gasol’s, ‘Get me out of here.’ … Carmelo Anthony, in glamorous New York, has struggled to attract teammates.”
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And Carmelo Anthony
“Are you going to deny that as Russell Westbrook sets a triple-double-quadruple, double-secret sauce mark that he also leads the NBA by 400 shots and that’s going to turn off some people? How come nobody every raced to New York to sign with Melo? How come so many players left Kobe in glamorous LA with the Laker brand? But you think this is a big turn on to go to Oklahoma City and play with a guy who’s going to have 400 more shots than the next guy? Like the city of Miami with the beautiful beaches, tourism and no state tax -- and the traffic, public school and hurricane issues -- both are true.”
Stats come first for Westbrook
“You see Mr. Triple-Double. I see a ball-centric, dribble-out-the-clock, play-no-defense, stat-obsessed guy that stars will eventually applaud on social media but will tell their agents, ‘No thank you.’ Jimmy Butler could go there. He will not. Paul George has come out and said he’d rather play with Gordon Hayward in Salt Lake City. We have a history in this league where ball-centric players -- dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble down the clock -- when it’s all said and done never get the great teammate. Certainly not for an extended period of time. I’m not anti-Russell Westbrook. Nor am I anti-Miami. There are moments I love both. But just because someone doesn’t tell the side of the story that you want to hear doesn’t make it untrue.”
Westbrook's glass is half-empty
“Triple-doubles, you got me there. 400 more shots than everybody else, 39 percent field-goal percentage against non-crappy teams in the league and second in turnovers … those are not inaccurate, either. It just depends on how you want to see the world.”