The Oklahoma City Thunder’s star small forward Kevin Durant has been the NBA’s leading scorer for three straight seasons, from 2009 to 2012. So naturally, he has the ball in his hands for most of the game, right?
One would think so, but that is not the case.
It’s been said a million times and I’m going to say it again: Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is hurting the team. He is a star caliber player, a great athlete, and a scorer.
However, he is not a point guard. The Thunder are being held back by Westbrook’s inexperience and inability to lead an offense and get the ball to the playmakers.
Westbrook appears selfish with the ball at times and statistics back that statement up.
He consistently takes more shots per game than Durant does. This is a problem. There is a reason Durant is the NBA’ leading scorer and has been for the last three years. He knows how to put points on the board, and needs to be the one shooting the basketball.
I’m not saying Westbrook can’t ever shoot, because he is more than capable of scoring when asked, but he is no Kevin Durant. Anytime a team has a player like Durant, he needs to be shooting more than anyone on the team.
The other issue I want to point out here is that Westbrook does not have the ability to play point guard in the NBA. He should be a shooting guard. He makes plays like a shooting guard, and would be more effective as such. He doesn’t have the court vision or passing ability to effectively lead the offense and get the ball where it needs to be.
Don’t get me wrong, Westbrook has made a huge improvement since he’s been in the league, and has elevated himself into star-status. However, he needs to learn his role on this team and understand that he is not the main man on the floor. There are a number of teams in the league where Westbrook would be the main option, but OKC is not one of them.
Until Westbrook can understand that Durant needs to run the show, he will continue to hold the Thunder back, and I’m not so sure he can be successful unless he can be the star player.
Follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeAtkinsonRS.