5 Ways Russell Westbrook Can Improve His Game

5 Ways Russell Westbrook Can Improve

Five Ways Westbrook Can Improve
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Outside of this year’s FIBA World Cup, being one of the most explosive scorers in the NBA and having eye-popping athleticism that any GM would drool over being able to acquire, many still find countless criticisms for Russell Westbrook. But only being 25 years old, he still has miles of room to grow. Here are five crucial improvements he needs to make.

5. Slow Down

Slow Down
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

5. Slow Down

Slow Down
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Westbrook is one of the few guys in the NBA who compete with 110 percent effort night in and night out. Yes, this does provide a majority of his SportsCenter Top 10 plays and crucial impact moments, but it also hinders the team when his effort is uncontrolled, leading to turnovers. Westbrook needs to learn when to wind down on certain plays and maintain control of the game.

4. Look To Pass First (Sometimes)

Russell Westbrook-Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

4. Look To Pass First (Sometimes)

Russell Westbrook-Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder and their fans alike want Westbrook to shoot -- a lot. But with that, they also want him to learn when to not come up and heave a 22-foot jumper with a hand in his face with 19 seconds left on the shot clock. Russ can score with the best of them, but the absolute best is usually wearing No. 35 on the wing calling for the ball.

3. Understand Where His Teammates Are

Understand Where His Teammates Are
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

3. Understand Where His Teammates Are

Understand Where His Teammates Are
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

As I mentioned in the previous slide, Westbrook can score with anybody, but guys like Serge Ibaka, Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Jackson and the great Kevin Durant can fill it up too. In a large portion of his shots, Westbrook is seemingly ignoring anything but the rim as he pulls up for a heavily contested jumper. All the while, his teammates are usually waiting with open arms for their shot.

2. Shot Selection

Shot Selection
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

2. Shot Selection

Shot Selection
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

As we all know by now, Westbrook is going to take his fair share of shots, one way or another. He really doesn’t care who’s guarding him or how little room he has to get the shot off. And usually, this mindset results in some pretty terrible looks at the basket. One thing that will improve his efficiency and ultimately the team’s success is if he can learn to improve his shot selection.

1. Understand OKC Is Durant's Team

Understand OKC Is Durant's Team
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

1. Understand OKC Is Durant's Team

Understand OKC Is Durant's Team
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

As history has proven, you can’t win a championship on your own, so Kevin Durant does need Russell Westbrook. But again, when it comes down to the final minutes in a tight-knit playoff game and Durant is calling for the ball, Westbrook needs to realize whose team OKC is and find a way to get the greatest scorer in the world the ball in crunch time.

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