Russell Westbrook Should Follow Dwyane Wade's Less-Is-More Approach
After the Oklahoma City Thunder dropped a 121-118 game to the Denver Nuggets, the same question arose that always tends to arise: Shouldn't Russell Westbrook be deferring to Kevin Durant a lot more than he has been?
Westbrook was admittedly impressive on the night, scoring 36 points to go along with his eight rebounds and nine assists, but he shot 10-of-26 on the night and made just one of his seven three-point shots.
Of course, the one three-pointer that he made was the 30-footer that tied the game at the end of the fourth quarter, but it was an inefficient night nonetheless.
So what is it that Westbrook should be looking to do over the next few weeks? Should he change his game at all, or is it okay for him to continue to chuck and pray every other game when his shot isn't falling?
At this point, I'm not on the bandwagon that he should defer to Durant more often. He's done a ton of that this season, as he's showed off his point guard skills.
However, he should do more to be aware of how he is playing over the course of the game. Once the fourth quarter rolls around and the Thunder need buckets, then he can go on and play this style of basketball, but for the first three quarters, he needs to take a more Dwyane Wade-ian approach.
By that, I don't mean feel free to fade into the background and let Durant take over, as Wade sometimes does with LeBron. I mean that he needs to have a feel for his game.
Wade has gone from shooting the ball 17 times per game and making 49.7 percent of them to shooting 15 times per game and shooting 50.6 percent. It's all thanks to a conscious decision to take better shots.
When his shot is falling early on, he should feel free to shoot the ball 25 times. When it's not, it's time for him to pick his spots, get as many people involved in the offense as possible and drive to the rim rather than settle for jumpers.
Wade has taken, what I would call, an "active" backseat to LeBron James. He's still a very prevalent member of the Miami offense, and he definitely has games where he outplays James, but he does so in a much more cautious manner.
He's taken to putting out feelers early in games to see if his jumper is falling. If it is, then he generally keeps shooting. If not, he'll stand off a bit and instead do his best to get to the rim more often.
Wade takes a "less-is-more" approach while getting the most out of every shot that he takes.
For the most part, Westbrook has taken to attacking more often this year, but he's still shooting quite a bit as well.
As a guy who shoots well under 40 percent when he's anywhere away from the rim, it seems to make more sense to figure out how a shot is feeling right out of the gate and adjust the game plan from there.
Now isn't the time for Westbrook to defer for the sake of deferring. If he has a shot or a way to get to the rim, then by all means take it, but don't continue to put up contested jumpers.
Spread the ball around, involve the offense and do as much as possible to make teammates better, something that jump shots can't do.
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