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After all the criticism Russell Westbrook took during the playoffs, I feel like I was the only one sticking by the guy's side.
As an avid follower of the Thunder, I was given the opportunity to witness all season how Westbrook plays. So when I saw him taking jump shots early in the shot clock and driving to the rim instead of dishing out to shooters, none of this was new to me.
That was the problem. The playoffs were likely the first time the majority of people had the chance to see the Thunder play on a consistent basis. Everyone knew Kevin Durant was the go-to scorer, so when Westbrook tried to do things on his own, people got really upset.
Westbrook needs to understand his mistakes and improve on his obvious weaknesses, which are: outside shooting, basketball IQ and decision-making. But for the amount of hate he received from both critics, fans and outsiders just now tuning in on the Thunder, you would think the guy murdered somebody.
Speaking of "murdering somebody," has anyone else not noticed that Westbrook is the only player on the team with killer instincts? He gets to the hoop when nobody else will, and when things are bad, he wants to put the team on his back.
People got mad because that should be Durant's job, but Durant stood by Westbrook like a good teammate the entire way. Durant doesn't possess the same level of desire and intensity that Westbrook does.
Also, Westbrook always got criticized for holding the ball too long and then making bad decisions after the shot clock would run down. While it's easy to blame Westbrook for this, a lot of the blame needs to go on head coach Scott Brooks.
Brooks can't call offensive plays to save his life. He relies too heavily on Durant's scoring capabilities and Westbrook's athleticism. That's why if Durant couldn't get open, it was up to Westbrook to do something with the ball.
With all that being said, Westbrook definitely needs to improve his decision making if the Thunder want to be less turnover prone.
That's just hard to do when you're only playing with one other guy who can score.