Russell Westbrook has shown to have had a habit to fail when the chips are down – which supersedes his excellent stats that he brings to the table. Even at 32 years old, he is still in the top 10 of PGs in the league – but, the 6-4 PG is a long ways from being the final piece for a team in the game right now. Westbrook has been putting up 19 ppg, 9 rpg, 10 apg for the Washington Wizards after 19 games this year and has his team on a 5 game current winning streak. His numbers look excellent, as always, but Washington is miserably sitting in 13th place in the Eastern conference.
There have been enough times that it seems to be that Westbrook couldn’t be bothered to pick up his man, and has actually struggled to stay near his guy – let alone be able to lock anybody down. His best attribute is to score the ball, we know this, but the former 2 time scoring champion doesn’t defend like he really wants to stop players from putting the ball in the hoop. His sole drive is to score and fatten those stats. And as of now, he is tops for the most overall turnovers /game as well, with a whopping 4.9 /game – he hasn’t been very careful with the ball.
To me it’s simple, he just does not fit into the Wizards style of ball – he has brought a big name to the team but Washington just looks like they’re depressed on the court – knowing the eventual outcome. Bradley Beal is their scorer, putting up 24 shots/game and Russ is their “playmaker” – and they are losing lots of games, and not close games. Getting blown out in games, having lost games by 19, 22, and 27 points this season already. And, as of now, it shows, Westbrook is just not the guy to lead a team. When they brought him in to team up with Beal – I think they would have imagined it would be a magic connection between them, a devastating duo to scare teams and become a new dynamo for the NBA to handle. It has been anything but a magic connection. They are bottom in opponents scoring defense giving up 119 /game and in the bottom 5 in shooting behind the arc as well, at just 34%. Russ is shooting a miserable 40% from the field – which is 2nd worse in his 13 year career.
Stats are great and are fun to have – but we all know, guys play the game to win. Everyone wants to have nice numbers to feel they contributed to the team, but winning is the goal.
Or it at least should be.
Stars love to have nice hefty numbers – but winning the game should be the main reason to have their nice stats. A player who is losing and just fattening their numbers when they lose all the time is carrying flat stats, in my opinion. There is more to basketball than filling up the stat sheet – any real leader understands that.
When a guy is leaving their man on defense to hang around in the paint for rebounds, and then ball dominating for self serving assists are garbage stats if the team is not winning some games. Washington has been just awful this season. They have Beal with over 32ppg and Russ with 18 shots /game – but there is nobody else who gets involved on the team. They seem to be the only 2 getting the rock. Maybe Rui Hachimura should get more than 10 shots /game, get someone else involved who could use some more looks. Because this 2 man game they have going on certainly isn’t getting them anywhere.
The Wizards are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole – Westbrook, to me, has always seemed to be more of a “me” guy, he has not been a team guy. We know the show – we’ve watched it for many years, his numbers look great on paper, but his defense and court leadership is less than great. His fattened APG numbers are self indulgent – I have often criticized Westbrook and his gamestyle – a selfish player is not anything that you want from your leader.
The 13 year vet can’t carry the load for the Wizards as he’s nothing more than a great sidekick to the star.
He’s Robin to Batman.
Lois Lane to Superman.
And he will always be that guy. He is not the guy to get a team to the “next level.”
The only real impact that he’s had on this team has been giving their stat keepers some “oohs and aahs” with some slick plays here and there, and scoring every night. But the team has not responded to his ball dominance play.