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Ever since the Damian Lillard game winner eliminated OKC, an old video of mine that I did last year is again starting to get some views.
The scary thing is that not only this video is 100% valid a season later, but the situation is much worse today for Russell Westbrook.
But I feel like him getting completely exposed in the playoffs and the entire basketball media turning on him could actually save his career. Otherwise, we could very well be seeing Russell Westbrook’s last days as an NBA superstar.
It’s a little crazy theory but let me explain. What up everybody my name is Stefan and this is Heat Check. Let’s get into it.
Westbrook shot an abysmal 36% from the field in the 5 games against the Blazers.
Things got so bad that there have been reports that the Portland coaches told the players to always back away and let Russell shoot.
He was jacking up almost 7 threes per game on 32 and a half percent which is bad by itself but funny enough it’s actually an improvement over his regular season shooting from downtown ranking dead last among players with over 5 attempts per game.
That tells us 2 things right off the bat.
1 is that if you take away his drivers to the basket, Westbrook’s jumpshot has always been very unreliable, but 2 and more important, his decision making extremely bad.
Firing up threes, when you know you’re a bad outside shooter, and especially repeatedly doing it in close games is both a bad decision, but also frustrating for the entire team.
And that takes us to the notorious attitude of Russell.
As he would say himself Westbrook hasn’t changed 1 bit since entering the league.
That includes all of the off court drama with the media and the infamous next question,
but especially his insisting of doing things his way on the court.
And Russell is covering a lot of that by his flashiness and all the triple doubles- which although I expose in my previous video, and explain how he gets some of them, is still an extraordinary achievement.
However, he could only cover all of that for so long. And now everything is clear. Here are a few facts for you.
He hasn’t gotten out of the first round ever since KD left.
In 2017 the MVP Westbrook lost 4-1 to the Rockets, and this is before CP3.
Last year the big three of him PG and Melo lost to a rookie Donovan Mitchell, which leads us to this year’s debacle that we all witnessed.
Next, if you take a look at how he actually gets his points, you’ll see that it’s all based on his athletic ability. He has no reliable jump shot and no footwork whatsoever. Have you seen him how he actually maneuvers on the court? He’s extremely raw.
So what happens when his athleticism starts to decline.
He’ll be 31 at the beginning of next season, how long do you think he’ll be able to run faster and jump higher than everybody?
Russell needs to develop a strategic approach to his game, needs a reliable go to move, and an attitude change.
And while all of this together seems like mission impossible at the moment, this is exactly the reason why I believe that this beatdown from the Blazers is actually a good thing for him and could save his career.
Why? Because it’s a great wake up call.
The way the entire basketball world quickly turned against him both because of his game, and because of his ego, I feel like makes this lowest point of Westbrook’s career probably.
And ironically this is the exact same position that his opponents were last year.
After getting the third seed and then completely dominated in the first round, the Blazers were getting ridiculed by some, and advised to blow the team up by others.
A lot of people thought that the entire team would crumble and not be able to recover from that devastating blow.
But instead, how did they respond? By improving the record in the season, getting the 3rd seed once again, in the killer western conference, and absolutely dominating the first round matchup.
And for a fierce competitor like Russell Westbrook, to be in the same exact situation, with his back against the wall, I expect him to bounce back and respond and protect his legacy.
The clock is ticking for Russell Westbrook and the 2 ways that this can go are very clear
Either he completely changes his approach to the game or he starts looking like Iverson once he began to lose his speed
And I grew up with the answer, he is one of my top 5 favorite players all time.
But it really looked ugly how he bounced from Detroit, to Memphis, all the way back to the sixers before ending his career in Turkey.
And we don’t even need to go that far back, just take a look at how things quickly changed for Carmelo Anthony, going from the franchise player all the way to being out of the league in just 2 seasons.
The danger is real for Westbrook, but at the same time, he is real dangerous as well, now more than ever.