Oklahoma City lost at home for the first time in the playoffs last night, but the hits kept coming even after the gut-wrenching 100-96 loss. Stephen A. Smith and Magic Johnson tag-teamed to issue OKC's point guard Russell Westbrook a critical beatdown following the Thunder's Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat.
"That was the worst point guard in the championship finals I've seen," said Magic Johnson during the halftime report (from the Sun Sentinel).
Really? Those comments are so outta whack they make the Pacquiao-Bradley decision seem like a no-brainer.
I get he started the night shooting 1-of-10 before getting his act together in the second half to finish with a respectable line of 27 points (on 10-of-26 shooting), eight rebounds and seven assists.
Now you're really going to tell me that was worse than the non-existent Mario Chalmers, who was on the same court as Westbrook last night? Or that you'd rather storm the court with Jameer Nelson, a 39-year-old Jason Kidd or Delonte West at the helm?
On any other day, I'm the furthest thing from a Westbrook fan that you can find. I think he shoots too much; I think his ego can't cope with the fact he'll always play second fiddle to Kevin Durant, and that he'll never be the guy his teammates or OKC fans want with the ball at the end of a game.
But even I know those comments carry no weight.
Are the Thunder better off with or without their All Star point guard?
It is incredibly difficult for point guards to find that balance between knowing when you have to take the shot, and when you have to give up the ball. Chris Paul has found it, and I would say Deron Williams and Steve Nash are the only other ones to have done so (although John Wall and Kyrie Irving have shown a lot of promise, as well).
I don't know if Westbrook will ever be able to find that balance. As a point guard, he needs to realize that when his shots aren't falling, he needs to get the ball into hotter hands and become a facilitator. There's no reason James Harden should have taken just two shots all second half after blazing out to a 17-point first half on five of eight shooting while Westbrook jacks up 16 shots after the break.
So yes, the 23-year-old shot the ball too much. But busting his butt for a game-high 42 minutes and nearly leading a 17-point comeback alongside Durant makes for a pretty gutsy performance if you ask me.
Do I think Westbrook is overrated? Yes. Do I think he's still a top-15 talent in the NBA? Yes. Do I think he's the 'worst point guard I've ever seen in the championship finals?'