NBA legend Isiah Thomas, who now works as a talking head on NBA TV, gave Russell Westbrook the ultimate compliment Tuesday night from one point guard to another.
Zeke says that Russ is the most physically-imposing floor general in the L, and that other point guards are terrified to face him.
The Hall of Famer says the only way to deal with Westbrook is to attempt to get in his head.
Per The Oklahoman:
“I sit here as a former point guard that used to play in the league and I can tell you, out of all the point guards out there playing, (Westbrook) is the one that none of them want to play against,” Thomas said. “There’s not a point guard at home sitting there saying: ‘I can’t wait to play against Russell, I got Russell coming in here tomorrow.’ No, no, no, no, ain’t nobody saying that. There’s great competition out West, there’s great competition in the East at the point guard position, but I guarantee you no one is asking to play against Russell Westbrook.”
After that, Thomas was asked how he would have gone about stopping the 6-foot-3 freight train that is Westbrook. And instead of a generic answer, Thomas gave a pretty interesting response, offering a slight peek into the dynamics of NBA cross matchups. Overmatched from a physical standpoint, the undersized Thomas said his tactic of choice would have been mind games.
“I wouldn’t have been able to stop him defensively because he is just bigger and stronger than I was,” Thomas said. “So I would have tried to frustrate him, get in his head. I would have had to frustrate him and psyche him out a little bit because physically I couldn’t beat him. So I would have to throw him off his game mentally, get him distracted. Say ‘Hey, man, (Kevin) Durant was open, you not gonna pass it to Durant? Hey, why you hogging? Durant, you’re boy ain’t gonna throw you the rock? That’s messed up.’ But then on the offensive side, he’d have to check me, too. And I think I would have got him a little bit. But I would have laying in bed the night before saying ‘What am I gonna do with this joker?’ Because when he comes full-throttle, like I said, he’s the Mike Tyson of point guards. He comes with that mentality. Comes with that anger and when you step on that floor you gotta be ready to battle him.”