BallerTalk wrote:One of the things I find most hilarious about this raging Harden vs Westbrook debate is that Thunder fans were having the VERY SAME debate among themselves 5 years ago.
Many agreed that Harden was the better playmaker but felt that was what made him a better candidate to run the second unit than Westbrook.
I can't help but wonder how many of those who were around then and had Harden as the better playmaker are arguing differently now that he is on an opposing team.
Well sure, but 5 years have passed and neither player is the same. Both Westbrook and Harden are much better playmakers, and players overall, than they were 5 years. It's certainly a fair debate and there's nothing wrong with feeling differently about it now, after 5 years.
Here's the thing, this game was bad, there is no way to defend it. Great first three quarters, horrible 4th. Honestly, defending it is ridiculous. Regardless of his teammates or any other factors involved, he played bad, and I think he knows it.
That said, this one quarter shouldn't be indicative of his entire season. The man played great all year and he did so with very little help on the offensive end. I really don't see how anyone can deny that. He's also been great all year in the clutch. He's hit countless winners and played extremely well in the 4th. Again, the Westbrook/Harden debate has it's merits.
This was a bad game, specifically a terrible 4th quarter, and OKC lost because of it. They live and die by Westbrook, no surprise there. Let's call this what it was and move on.
You are right, one quarter should not be indicative of Westbrook's entire season.
Unfortunately it does conjure old ghosts. It was a horrible hodgepodge of many of the things Russell's critics have been most vocal about: Poor shot selection, weak defense, and selfish play.
It gets magnified by the fact that it happened in the playoffs and in spectacular fashion. Eighteen shots in a quarter is an eye catcher.
Then you add that all eyes are on this series as it was the most anticipated of the 1st round. It features the two leading MVP candidates so the comparisons were inevitable.
Thus far Harden has largely appeared the calm, pace controlling playmaker who gets his teammates involved and knocks down timely shots.
Meanwhile Westbrook followed an erratic Game 1 with a brilliant first 3 quarters of basketball.
Then came the complete breakdown in the 4th quarter.
For the record I've always thought Harden was the better playmaker of the two, even when they were on the same team.
I felt that was where Westbrook needed to make the most improvement. But it's hard to tell a guy (or his fans) he needs improvement when he is putting up the astronomical numbers he is and garnering the accolades that come with it.
Nevertheless I still find it funny that this debate rages on.