Pillendreher wrote:is simply untrue. Westbrook has of course changed his game and has changed it significantly this season. He's on pace to have the lowest USG% of his postseason career since 2010 and is also averaging way more assists than last season when he had the highest USG% in the league in the postseason (despite his teammates missing close to everything in the first two games).
er, i mean, we can make all sorts of claims if we're using four games of evidence as the basis for those claims. westbrook's usage was lower this year than it has been since kd left, but still 30%+. most of his peripheral stats are in-line with what he's done before he's just been far less efficient.
for some reason he decided to stop chasing offensive rebounds so much, so i guess that's a change.
Pillendreher wrote:Contrary to what pundits say, this isn't Westbrook shooting the Thunder out of the series because of some feud with another player (funnily enough, Portland talks just as much ****, but lo and behold, they are suddenly the mature ones while the narrative of the childish Thunder gets driven down our throats). Yes, in game 4 he took some very questionable shots at the end of the 2nd quarter and two or three in the 2nd half, but other than that, he has had two great games (1 and 3) and two bad games (2 and 4). More often than not he has been setting up his teammates for good shots this series. His shooting performance overall leaves a lot to be desired, but I guess that has been the norm for him this season. Him attacking the paint less than he did last postseason against Gobert (!) even though he has nobody infront of him that can actually defend him is really hurting his overall performance. But then again: Is that Westbrook or Donovan? Who is responsible for gameplanning and adjustments?
i don't really disagree with any of this but i don't see how it's pertinent either. westbrook's inability to make jump shots has certainly made its mark on the series as it did last year against utah, and we even have quotations from the portland bench insinuating as much. he's been fine as a play maker, sure. the team's inability to make shots he sets up is a problem, sure. but again, what's the relevance here?
i think the statement that westbrook cannot deviate means he needs the ball in his hands to be effective and needs a certain structure around him for the offense to be consistent in the half court and it's a structure that we lack for sure in personnel and perhaps in coaching aptitude. swap westbrook for a top 20 guard who can shoot and we open up a lot of possibilities. do you disagree?
Pillendreher wrote:And finally: What does deviate even mean in this context? No, you won't turn him into a completely different player. You can't do that with any guy in this league. They are who they are. What it comes to is: Can you get him to adapt a little bit more and put an offense and a roster around him that fits his strengths and his shortcomings? And since the Thunder haven't tried either, you simply can't call it on Westbrook's ability/willingness to change.
yes i can. sam presti said in the exit interview that westbrook would work on his three point shooting. it was a unusual 'loud' comment from presti on an individual player working on such a specific thing. westbrook failed. not only that, he got worse from the line and at other things that are usually associated with practice and work and focus.
the thunder lack an optimal structure around him but that optimal structure for westbrook is narrower than other players of his caliber in the nba right now. i cannot say what erik horne means for sure when he says 'cannot deviate', but that's what i mean. there's a reason we get players into certain archetypes regardless of their skill-sets and whatnot. we'll probably disagree on the reason.