Friday, November 30th, 2012 at 9:40 am  |  6 responses

Kevin Durant Says the Game is ‘Slowing Down’ for Russell Westbrook

If you pay close attention, you’ll notice a considerable shift in the criticism of OKC Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook: it has died down almost completely. That’s because Russ is playing smarter, and to a degree, slower. Kevin Durant appreciates the way his partner is approaching the game this season. Per the Oklahoman: “In his fifth season, Westbrook’s assists are at a career high while his turnovers are down to a career low. He’s getting teammates involved with regularity and has led the Thunder’s turnaround from the league’s worst passing team to one that now ranks sixth. ‘I’m doing a good job,’ Westbrook said. ‘I always can do better. But we’re winning. That’s the most important part.’ Through 16 games, Westbrook is averaging 17.9 shots, down from 19.2 per game last season. After averaging just 5.5 assists a year ago, Westbrook is now dishing 8.6 per game. [...] ‘He’s just slowing down. Taking his time,’ said Kevin Durant. ‘As you start to grow in this league, the game starts to slow down for you a little bit. You start to see things earlier than you would the first or second year. So he’s just getting everybody involved … He’s sacrificing shots for himself to mix it around for the whole team. That’s what great point guards do and he’s having a helluva season.’ Westbrook defiantly insists he isn’t doing anything different. ‘Guys are just making shots,’ he said. “The only way you get assists is if guys make shots.’ [...] Led by Westbrook, the Thunder is averaging 22.9 assists after finishing at only 18.5 last year. As a result, four players, Westbrook, Durant, Kevin Martin and Serge Ibaka, are averaging at least 15 points. It’s a more balanced attack that has made the Thunder tougher to defend. [...] Though much of the improvement can be attributed to Westbrook, few would be surprised at his reaction when asked if he feels he gets the credit he deserves as a passer. ‘Nah, I honestly don’t even care to tell you the truth,’ he said.”

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  • roscoe

    after losing harden, kd has realized he better start complimenting westbrook or he will end up in okc all alone for the next decade.

  • biggieman

    It also helps that unlike Harden, Kevin Martin needs to be set up to score. With Harden Durant and Westbrook they resorted to one on one plays, way too much, I think the KMart is a better fit because for him to get his points, they have to swing the ball around and find him for spot up jumpers and 3′s. Ibaka has also really improved his shot and overall game this season. But give Russ props because he is actively looking to find his teammates much more than in previous years. If he keeps up this progression and avoids injury, he will keep climbing the ranks of best players in the L. I would already take him over any other PG in the league, not saying that he is the best right now… but he is so young, I think he will be the best PG in the league in the near future.

  • spit hot fiyah

    he’s been all-nba second team two years in row if i’m not mistaken. he is not far behind at all

  • Chukaz

    I hate how people treat my boy Westbrook. This is the 3rd time in 5 years he’s averaging over 8 assists per game and people still don’t recognize how good of a passer he is. Rose averages 25/7/4 and he’s MVP and 1st team all-nba, Westbrook averages 22/8/4 gets a 2nd team all-nba award and is running point for the leagues leading scorer and people treat him like he’s a criminal. Forget about the fact that statistically the Thunder’s a better team when Russ takes more shots than KD, people just love to tear this dude to shreds. I’m not a fan of advanced stats but stat heads love to say that the thunder are better with an aggressive westbrook and follow that with “he’s gotta step back and let KD take more shots”. Earlier in the year some people felt that the thunder messed up and shoulda traded westbrook instead of Harden because harden had 81 points in the first 2 games to start the year. Nobody remembered Westbrook dominating the Heat on his way to 45 points in the Finals, but people were rubbing one out to hardens 81 points in 2 games against a couple of teams that won’t make the playoffs. In the future i want every russell westbrook insult to be followed by an insult to CP3, DWill, DRose, and even Michael Jordan (just to make this interesting)

  • Kd4life

    ur seriuosly retarted for saying this

  • RedRum

    I love RWs energy and athleticism. But someone needs to point out that he is shooting 41% this year and he is a career 42% shooter. This is very inefficient, hence the comparisons with Iverson. Chukaz, at the same time Rose is a career 47%, which is a huge difference for a high volume shooter. hope he figures it out , because he likely is in the top 5 most athletic players we have ever seen.