Guard: Russell Westbrook
Not many have had the opportunity to witness Oscar Robertson’s triple double feats. While the debate about whether Robertson could replicate something like that in this era is something pundits can debate over, there is no debating the fact that not many players in the league have had the skill set to excel in three aspects of the game consistently.
In the last few decades, we can think of Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, LeBron James, Grant Hill and now Russell Westbrook. So in terms of just pure stature, Westbrook is already in a pretty special territory.
The Thunder guard is widely believed to be the most athletic player in the game but for long many critics have repudiated him for being a two-guard in a point guard’s body. Many have even rebuked his tendency to dominate the ball and not do enough to orchestrate the offense.
So, if anything this year has seen Westbrook almost defy his natural instinct on occasions and just run plays to facilitate the team. This gets his teammates into the game and helps the supporting cast but somewhere down the line Westbrook still needs to find the fine balance between being a facilitator and being a scorer.
Nobody complains when Durant and company feed off Westbrook but in all this rigorous attempt to be the facilitator we haven’t seen Westbrook dominate the scoring charts as only he can. I know it may seem like a case of damn if you do and damn if you don’t, but ask the Grizzlies and they will sure choose Westbrook, the facilitator than Westbrook, the beast. For now, it just seems on nights he chooses a cape and plays the role.
The fine balance between the two still remains a confounding question. He is averaging 23.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 10.4 apg on 45% shooting from the field. Yes, The Thunder haven’t been as good as hoped they would be in the regular season. They have consistently struggled to close out games, but the playoffs are a different ball-game altogether. Westbrook may not be that relenting and if he decides to be aggressive and take over a game, the ferocity of his game is too much to contend with.