During a search for stats to answer a question Nix had in the comments (and I still don’t have an answer to that and I doubt I ever will - turned out to be a lot of work), I came across some pretty interesting numbers for Russell Westbrook. We all know his shot selection could be at times very poor and sometimes he didn’t have the look of a point guard trying to set up teammates, but rather a scoring point trying to find his own. And one stat really backs that up.
Last season, Westbrook took 51 percent of his shots 10 or fewer seconds into the shot clock (24-15 remaining on the 24). Compare that to the elite point men in the league – Chris Paul took 40 percent of his shots in 10 seconds or under, Deron Williams 36, Tony Parker 31, Chauncey Billups 41, Derrick Rose 42 and Rajon Rondo 43. Westbrook was at least eight percent higher than the next closest of that group.
Now it’s easier for a point guard to take shots early in the clock, because they have the ball first. But Russ taking so many shots early shows his “shoot first, pass later” mentality. It’s something that he absolutely has to overcome if he wants to be a successful point guard in this league. I thought the last month and half he was much, much better at looking to set his teammates up first and looking to shoot later, but he sacrificed his ability to score and his efficiency numbers took a hit. He’s a scoring point guard, whichever way you want to look at it. But he can also be a guy that makes players better around him too.
I can’t be sure without looking through every single player, but I think Westbrook might be top in the league in this category. Now understand that pace has a lot to do with this though. OKC was the 8th fastest team in the league and teams like New Orleans, San Antonio, Utah and Boston were very slow. So that’s a factor. Chris Duhon took 50 percent of his shots 10 seconds or under in to the shot clock in New York’s system. But then again, Steve Nash was at 40 percent. In fact, the seven teams that were faster than OKC and their point guards: Jamal Crawford 49/Monta Ellis 44, Duhon 50, Nash 40, T.J. Ford 45, Billups, 41, Beno Udrih 38 and Derek Fisher 41. Westbrook was higher than every single one of them. Hmm, hmm and hmm. Keep Reading…