I was wrong.
In this case, I am ecstatically happy to be wrong, but that does not change the facts. To elaborate, I was convinced that Russell Westbrook was not a point guard. This flawed belief was a huge catalyst in my full-throated lobbying to select Ricky Rubio with the #3 pick in last Summer’s Draft (along with my belief–which continues to this day–that Rubio was one of the two players in the draft pool with superstar capability).
My impression of Russell Westbrook after his rookie season was that he was either a selfish player more interested in his own scoring statistics than setting up teammates, or else he just lacked the instincts to be a point guard meaning he had no feel for where his teammates were and when they had a better shot. Obviously, those snap conclusions were incorrect. Despite some inconsistency this season, he has blossomed into a serviceable floor general and, at times, one of the best in the NBA.
Over his past nine games, he has had double digit assists in five and zero turnovers in two. For the year, his assist-to-turnover ratio is a respectable 2.4, far better than the 1.6 he recorded as a rookie. While no one is confusing him for Chris Paul, yet, his decision making has improved exponentially. If his outside shooting shows as drastic an improvement over the next few years, he will be an all-first teamer before we know it.
So, how did this light bulb go off for the Thunder’s ultra-athletic point guard? It could be natural maturing…but I think it probably has more to do with all the role models that the franchise has surrounded him with. Keep Reading…