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I made the comment, after Game 2 of the Thunder's first-round series with Denver, that Westbrook needed to slow down. His speed and quickness is much of what sets him apart from his peers. But he was playing too fast, and he hasn't decelerated. He's been out of control and outside the flow of the offense for much of these playoffs.
Worse, he has been dominating the "FGA" portion of the box score. The Thunder point guard has out-shot Kevin Durant in five of the Thunder's seven playoff games—and, not coincidentally, in both of Oklahoma City's playoff losses (by a margin of 53 to 39).
In commanding a double team for large stretches at a time, Durant dictates Westbrook's offensive output in accordance with his own. There are times when it is necessary for Russell Westbrook to take over the game for a period of time. But since the playoffs began, Westbrook has been forcing the issue, over-asserting himself and hurting his team in the process.
In Durant and Westbrook, the Thunder have a Jordan and Pippenesque one-two punch that could go on to win multiple championships. But, only if Westbrook accepts his role as the "Pippen" in that equation. Make no mistake, I am an enormous Russell Westbrook fan. But the strength of his game lies in his ability to facilitate a high-octane offense and make you pay for over-playing Durant.
He needs to channel his inner-Steve Nash, and understand that his value does not directly correlate with his individual scoring output. Just because he can put up 30-plus points a night, doesn't mean he should.
The good news for the Thunder is that the type of player that I just described is the same one that has been playing point guard in Oklahoma City all season. Westbrook doesn't need to change the way that he plays—he needs to quit changing the way that he plays.