Russell Westbrook May Be Oklahoma City Thunder's Achilles Heel

Kaleb SmithCorrespondent IJune 1, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 31:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder goes up for a shot over Tony Parker #9 of the San Antonio Spurs in the second quarter in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 31, 2012 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Brett Deering/Getty Images

Russell Westbrook currently leads the Oklahoma City Thunder with his point guard duties. With Westbrook leading the offense has its pluses, but will his backcourt presence impair the Thunder's overall ability to win?

The positive to Russell Westbrook’s game displays in his pure ability to score the ball. His savvy ball-handling allows for creating his own shot and with shifts in the defense allows him to knock down open shots.

He gives opposing NBA teams headaches when they realize they have to guard not only Kevin Durant, but a deadly point guard. The NBA has become a guard's game, but at times the Thunder guard misuses his skills.

The downside to Westbrook's game is his lack of true point guard talent.

Yes, he can score with the best of them, but the skill to run the offense and set others up is in question. Plenty of offensive sets are wasted by ill-advised shots taken by the point guard. This past season he averaged 23.6 points per game, though he only chipped in with 5.5 assists per game. With an assist-to-turnover ratio at a mere 1.53, his ability to assist his teammates is in question. 

Other point guards, such as Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo, and Ricky Rubio having a near 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, so he does not stack against top leaders in the game. Aside from the inability to properly assist teammates in the offense, many offensive possessions are wasted for the Thunder. 

Poor shot selection, turnovers and the inability to properly control the offensive sets lead to one-and-done shots by Westbrook. 

The question will become more evident if the Oklahoma City Thunder are dismissed by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals.