The Up’s and Down’s of being a Westbrook fan

Russell Westbrook is one of the craziest athletes I have ever seen in my life. His ability to walk the ball up the court one second, and then get to the rack at will is both mesmerizing and beautiful. The mid-range pull ups are a work of art, the skill to run at breakneck speeds, stop on a dime, pull up with a high jumper, and bury the shot. His intensity and passion are admirable, and his demeanor is similar to that of Draymond Green. They are the type of players who go for the jugular every minute they are on that hardwood.

Unfortunately, these positives do come with negatives. Whether it’s the rushed offense, the high turnover rate, or the overcommitment to getting off ball steals, these weaknesses contribute to the love/hate relationship many fans have with Russ. Russell has all the tools to be a great defensive player, he has size, physicality at his position, and the unending relentlessness, however he’s far too focused on the offensive end of the floor. Russell, you are easily a top 5-7 NBA player for the past couple of years, oh, and you’re teammate Kevin is right up there too! The best basketball the Thunder play is when the ball zings around the arc (crazy idea, I know), in games where Durant is the primary offensive weapon and Westbrook gets high assist and rebound totals. Russell Westbrook got 18 triple doubles this season. Yes, 18. That puts him in the same category as Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson, two pretty good names to be included with. And another interesting note, the Thunder were 18-0 in games where Russell recorded a triple double, most of which his point totals did not exceed 15. Russell has grown from when he first came into the league, when he was an undersized 2-guard who was being molded into a point guard, something many in NBA circles did not think he could ever do well. Now in his 8th year in the league, he is one of the best point guards in the league. This is why it is so infuriating as a fan to see a different Westbrook every night. The talent on this roster should be able to compete every minute against any team in the NBA, even when two of those teams are historically great. Because when the Thunder offense is clicking, there’s no reason to not believe that they too could be dominant. Sadly, after they seemed guaranteed to make multiple Final’s after their first stint in 2012, Harden was traded, too much was expected of Russell to handle the ball, and now the future is consumed with the fear of two of the franchise’s greatest players leaving. We can only hope that Russell can go into Oscar-mode and somehow start averaging a triple double, because then there’s no way Durant can leave…

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