Russel Westbrook Is Not a Point Guard

A lot of talk has been about whether or not Russel Westbrook deserves the title Point Guard”. I don’t believe so. I believe that he could be just as effective at the shooting guard position, allowing a true point guard to run the offense and get the other players involved. With Westbrook in charge, the Thunder are struggling to win their first championship, despite having the best scorer in the league on the roster—Kevin Durant. My theory keeps coming back to Russel Westbrook getting in the way of his team. Bad decisions and selfishness are crippling the potential of what that team could ultimately be.

Combo-guard? Right. When have you ever seen a combo-guard lead a team to a ring? Is it possible? Look at it this way: every shot that the point guard takes, is one less shot his teammates can take, and when your point guard is your main scorer–and isn’t getting the other four players on the court involved–the defense’s life becomes a lot easier.

Don’t take my word for it, here’s Drew Corrigan from Dime Mag:

The point guard position is commonly referred to as the player who initiates the team’s offense, the floor general. In recent history, the NBAs infrastructure has undergone a makeover. Now, it’s all about a lightning quick pace and guards that can score the ball at will. While this has produced some exciting and flashy play, there is one critical argument that needs to be discussed with these point guards. […] While these scoring point” guards can produce huge numbers and exciting play, they don’t win championships.

For the past 10 years, these are the point guards that won a championship:

  • 12-’13: Chalmers
  • 11-’12: Chalmers
  • 10-’11: Kidd
  • 09-’10: Fisher
  • 08-’09: Fisher
  • 07-’08: Rondo
  • 06-’07: Parker
  • 05-’06: Payton
  • 04-’05: Parker
  • 03-’04: Billups

You could argue that all of these point guards have rings because of someone else, but that’s the point. They’re not getting in the way of their team. They’re doing their job and attempting to make life easier for the ones around them. Westbrook is doing the complete opposite.

Drew Corrigan on the Thunder’s 11-’12 Finals run:

During their NBA Finals run in 2011-2012, Westbrook led the Thunder in field goal attempts per game with 20.4, but only shot 44 percent from the field and 28 percent from deep. Westbrook also boasted the highest usage percentage during the playoffs of 30.7 percent. This equated to A LOT of Westbrook pounding the ball into the ground and a lot of Russell Westbrook shots, which takes up valuable possessions and clock. […] Imagine if the Thunder were led by a pass-first point guard.

A pass-first point guard, teamed up with Kevin Durant? The sky’s the limit for that team. Durant is too dominant to have to take turns with his point guard. Instead, the point guard should direct traffic and setup easy shots for Durant.

One thing’s for sure: people love these hybrid point guards. Their athleticism is exciting. And let’s admit it, there’s nothing about a pass that screams SportsCenter. It’s just a pass. But while it’s true that these hybrid players are exciting to watch (highlights and scoring a ton of points), ultimately, their selfishness continues to be the detriment to their team’s success.

When Westbrook finishes a game with more shot attempts than the best scorer in the league, he’s obviously doing the opposite of what the job is intended for. A point guard that shoots more than the rest of his team is not a point guard.


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