Skyzoo shows some support for Russell Westbrook.
by Skyzoo / @therealskyzoo
What’s up y’all, it’s Skyzoo, checking in for Week 6 of my “Chain Link Champions” blog for SLAM Mag. As always, shouts to everyone reading, commenting and tweeting the weekly posts to their inner circles. Definitely appreciate the support. The past week in the League has been the “nail biting, couch standing, scream at the TV” ride we’ve always wanted it to be. The NBA is at it like it’s never been, but with all of the excitement and “break the DVR button” moments comes the media talk and criticism with it. With that being said, I wanna use this week’s post to spotlight the unfair treatment of my man Russell Westbrook.
Let’s start with the facts: Russell Westbrook is a top 10 PG of our new generation. When you name CP3, Rondo, DWill, DRose, etc., you have to name Westbrook. He’s easily a representation of what the League has recently become; teams are now driven by point guards who can score at will, as well as set up the play, run it and then literally run through your defense from end to end. The game is now PG-based, as stated in my Week 3 blog entry, and Russ is definitely one of the new young elite.
The success of OKC has clearly been riding off of Kevin Durant. He’s a top 5 “right now” player (in no particular order: LBJ, DWade, Kobe, Melo and KD35; sue me), for numerous reasons: his skill set is top notch, he’s 6-9 and can dribble like he’s 6-2, great speed, perfect jump shot, clutch gene is through roof, etc. We could list reasons for the rest of the day. But throughout all of that, his “go-to,” his partner in crime, his co-captain, is the wonderkid draped in #0.
Let’s not forget who Westbrook is: the one who helped lead the US team to the gold last summer, the one Kobe said inspired him to “get up like he used to” at this year’s All-Star game (check the press conference footage), the one Kobe himself said he’d have to guard in last season’s first round of the Western Conference Playoffs after Russ ran circles around Derek Fisher and threatened to put the Lakers on the ropes for good. This is the same PG who dropped a triple-double in the WC semis, joining the elite few of Magic, Bird, Robertson and maybe two others, as noted by ESPN. Make no mistake, Russ is far from the villain and “spazz out” the media is making him and his game to be.
When Durant drops 40+, breaks records, wins games at the buzzer, or even has an off night, it’s Westbrook whom he depends on. Whether it’s to get him the ball at the exact spot needed, or to chime in for 30+ of his own when the shots aren’t falling for him, Durant definitely knows the value Westbrook brings to the table, as he’s shown in the media by openly supporting Westbrook. To me, Russ is the closest thing we’ve seen—as far as style and gameplay—to Isiah Thomas. Not saying he’s the next Zeke, but the way he plays the game has #11 written all over it: 6-3 PG, super fast, can score at will, not afraid of the paint, can dish the ball when and where needed, and if it comes down to it, can truly lead a team if need be (until the media completely got into his psyche). Russell is this generation’s edition of what Isaiah was to the 80s.
The tangent the media went on throughout these WCF’s have been outta control. Has Russ made some mistakes? Absolutely. I don’t think he should ever shoot more than Durant unless Durant takes 15 or fewer shots. Should he take the last shot? Not if Durant or Harden can get a clean look. But if they can’t? Then he 100 percent should, before anyone else in a similar jersey. With that being said, though, make no mistake: OKC wouldn’t be as far as they are without what Russ has contributed throughout this season. He’s an All-Star, proven worthy pretty much every night this year, and he practically owned Sportcenter’s Top 10 plays on a nightly basis this winter. Again, Kobe went on record saying Westbrook pretty much inspired him to get back to his afro-and-adidas days at the aforementioned All-Star game.
Tonight, win or lose, I’d like to see Russell play his game. Emphasis on on the word HIS. Not the media’s game or Skip Bayless’ game, but his Isiah Thomas-driven, 20-points, 8-assists, 7-rebounds game. The media has clearly gotten to him, thus resulting in back-and-forth performances. Some nights they love him, some nights they hate him, but regardless, they need to stop denying how nice he is. I’d hate to see him and Durant end up like Shaq and Kobe or Garnett and Marbury. If they keep it together, OKC can, and will, become the new Lakers.
Til’ next week, see y’all at the Chain Links.
Sidebar: For this week’s edition of #debateteamtuesdays, I leaked “Test Drive,” produced by Illmind, whihc features a nice DRose line that I was been telling y’all about when the Chi-Town readers were coming after me. Told y’all, I love the Chi. Word to LDRS 1354. Peep the jam in the bangers section of XXLMag.com.