Doctor MJ wrote:2. When Westbrook was drafted onto OKC he had one job: Become Durant's perfect partner. And not only did he not become that, he developed a game where he essentially tried to win the game by himself. Players who try to do everything themselves tend to frustrate those around them. Westbrook's not the first, and he won't be the last.
I disagree I think his one job was to become the best player he could possibly be and I have no doubt that he did just that. Players who do it all can frustrate teammates around them but usually its the frustrated party being a baby about it (Dwight and Shaq come to mind). If anything once Russ became better than KD it should've been KD's job to adjust and become his number 2. You're looking at this as if he had the audacity to outgrow his role but that's not how these things work. You think the Lakers as a franchise would've been better off if Kobe kept developing into a suped up version of 2000 Kobe instead on Jordan-lite? That Miami would've been better off if Wade developed into a number 2 instead of a demon on isos?
4. I'm not dodging questions, I"m pointing out how drastic your fixations are here. Any talk about GS having serious problems isn't something that makes much sense to me. The amount of drama coming out of GS is basically 1/10th of what comes out of LeBron's super teams basically every year.
It is small in comparison to the Lebron drama but you know I give Lebron crap for that too (especially as it concerns Bosh and Love). Golden State has already come close to matching last season's loss total and iirc after going 30-4 in clutch situations last year they're 11-6 now meanwhile OKC has shot up. OKC underperforming in crunch time has been a thing we've discussed since 2012 and the second KD leaves the issue is gone and his new team has more issues than before? Its hard not to notice that especially when his teammates are clearly having issues with his play.
5.1) I don't particularly want a volume scoring point guard but if someone is good enough at scoring and passing it just makes sense. I will say as OKC is currently constructed I wouldn't pretend the Thunder would be better off playing another way, but back when they had Durant, yes, they'd have been better off with a real passing point guard...which incidentally, I think Harden would have done quite well. He's proven he can be a great player without volume scoring, it's just that in Houston, he's been by far the best scorer.
When exactly did Harden prove he can be great without volume scoring? When he was in OKC volume scoring with the bench lineup and floundering when out with KD and WB? When he was in Houston volume scoring? I'm confused. Also last year they had KD nearly leading the league in scoring, Westbrook adding 24 ppg on 55 TS%, and a bunch of bad offensive players. Who was supposed to take all these extra shots and convert them better than Russ? Kobe Wade? Serge the 31 year old? Steven Adams with his non existent offensive game? Was Enes Kanter supposed to play more because he already scores like 23-24 per 36. Truth is last year OKC had the 2nd best offense with a ton of mediocre to bad offensive players outside of KD and Russ. I don't think CP3 who couldn't do much better with Blake, DeAndre, and JJ would help that much.
2) Okay let's get one thing straight: Westbrook has at this point proven he's fundamentally incapable of shooting efficiently whether he has girl scouts as teammates or superstars. He doesn't ever get to blame his situation again.
Westbrook had a +2 TS% last year. That's not inefficient.
And he's volume scoring in a league where a 5'9" guy is volume scoring with a TS% 8 points higher than him, so you can't say it's in an era where it's hard to figure out what a good or bad shot is.
We still doing this TS% means how good you are at scoring thing completely removed from the context of the game? Isaiah is great but his efficiency doesn't mean Westbrook isn't efficient just that he's more efficient. Isaiah literally plays with more spacing than any other PG in the league while Westbrook plays with less than any other PG. The worst shooter in the rotation is Smart and Smart shoots better than everyone in OKC's rotation but Dipo and Albrines. Isaiah also doesn't play a lick of defense to conserve energy and he gets probably the best ref treatment in the league due to his size.
[/quote]Westbrook as a scorer takes too many bad shots.
Westbrook as a passer takes consistently chooses not to pass and instead take bad shots.
Westbrook as a defender focuses primarily on getting the ball.
I don't mean to damn the guy. I totally get why he's an MVP candidate and frankly I'm thinking a lot more about him than I am Durant in that context. He is an astonishing specimen with an iron will. But to me he largely has the same issues he came in the league with, those are issues that cause problems with portability, and thus while I think OKC totally could have won the title last year, were I tasked with actually building around Westbrook to win a title hoping to get realistic secondary stars, I wouldn't like my chances.
(To be clear, I also have concerns about Harden because of his defense. I may knock Westbrook's defensive focus, but in the playoffs if he needs to do some serious man defense, he can. Harden's defensive issues will only get worse in the playoffs and frankly it makes it tough for me when I think about MVPs.)[/quote]
Westbrook does take too many bad shots but his passing is fine. Everyone gets involved. Steven Adams gets the touches he wants, Kanter gets hella touches, Oladipo gets as many scoring chances as in Orlando, Sabonis, Grant, etc. are spoonfed easy buckets. They don't make them. I don't get who all these people are that he's not giving the ball and if you're talking about last year again everyone got their touches. Every shot isn't going to be a good shot and every pass isn't a good pass. No one is perfect.
And you must've forgot the problems he came into the league with. His biggest one was that he wasn't a passer at all and for the longest he wasn't but I don't know how you can't see the massive improvement in his passing ability last year. I wasn't even that big on Westbrook until last season (products of being a major Rose fan back in the day) but even I couldn't deny how great he was. Your criticisms just seem completely outdated to me.
3) Fundamentally there are just a lot of Westbrook possessions that end ugly and didn't seem to seriously try to get Durant involved, and this was the case regardless of the coach. He's never been a gifted passer. He's improved with experience, but he's not one of these guys who knows where everyone on the floor is all the time. He gets tunnel vision, and that's basically precisely what you don't want to have when you have a teammate that is a much better scorer than you are.
Was KD supposed to get 23 shots a game? I mean come on KD took tons of shots. All these so called problems just don't match up with the reality of the situation which is that KD took more shots than WB and KD was top 10 in usage percentage. He got the ball a ton of times. Actually last time he got that many touches was when Westbrook was a clearly defined 2nd option.
4) At this point I don't know if anyone is actually publishing rebounding regressions. Back when they did, Westbrook's defensive rebounding impact was not good. It's possible that by this point Donovan has developed a system so focused on making use of Westbrook being Westbrook that the team's rebounding suffers without him, but when Westbrook first started crashing the defensive boards when Durant was hurt, it wasn't good for the team's defensive rebounding.
Again, to be clear, that doesn't mean it was necessarily a mistake, because it helps start the fast break. The offensive gain may outweigh the defensive cost, and so the only thing to stress here fundamentally is that a point guard who gets a lot of defensive rebounds is something that should be considered as a strategy primarily for the offensive benefit. On defense the way to really get good at defensive rebounding is tried & true:
1) Get big, tall, athletic guys.
2) Have them work together to box out the opponent.
3) Rebounds gained on the interior are typically done by guys already on the interior, as they are the one who aren't simply closest, but can get to the ball without having to create an opening through which an opponent can also jump in.
Rules 2 & 3 are why young bigs typically suck at defensive rebounding even if they are great at offensive rebounding. They may get a lot of defensive boards, but they allow openings which make there be a bigger chance that the ball will bounce to the opponent.
I get this generally but Donovan has made it a point and like you see its clearly reflected in the numbers. In the Westbrook thread on the PC board I actually went into depth on the rebounding numbers and Westbrook - by far - has the biggest impact on rebounding on the team.
I think we've gotten way off topic so I'll stop here so people can get back to discussing Kawhi for MVP. If you want to continue this discussion you know where to find me.
"The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict." - Martin Luther King