Russell Westbrook is Inefficient

By ChrisH
Nov. 24, 2016

The Oklahoma City Thunder are struggling to get consistent wins. Their record is 8-7 and right now it looks as if they’ll be limping into the playoffs this season. Russell Westbrook is having one of the best statistical seasons we’ve ever seen. His numbers sound great. But when you look deeper into the stats, it’s much easier to see how inefficient he really is.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Westbrook has the most points in the NBA right now. He’s averaging 31.8 points, 1-.6 assists and 9.6 rebounds. Again, those numbers look great, but he’s not doing it on an efficient level. First off, Westbrook is averaging 24 shots a game. He’s had multiple nights when he attempted more than 30 shots a game. That’s an insane amount for a point guard. Westbrook is shooting 44% and 35% from 3. Even those numbers don’t show his inefficiency.

Westbrook gets stuck in way too many one on one situations. He’s had 82 isolation possessions that account for 16% of the Thunder’s offense. He ranks in the 59th percentile in isolation plays according to synergy. Only 13% of his midrange field goals are assisted and 41% of his three pointers are assisted. These statistics show that Westbrook is shooting too much. He's on pace to take just as many shots as Kobe Bryant did last season. We all know how fans felt about that.

I think the worst part of Westbrook’s game is his decision making. He takes some of the worst shots in late game situations. This is something that can’t really be explained with statistics. It’s one of the reasons Kevin Durant departed Oklahoma City. Westbrook falls into a consistent thought process of what coaches call hero ball. He’s willing to do anything to be the man.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to late game situations, Westbrook doesn’t manage the clock. We’ve seen him take long 3’s when the Thunder were leading close games. We constantly watch him go full speed into the opposition on fast breaks. On some possessions, he draws a foul or gets a big dunk. On other possessions, he blows a wild lay up and the other team goes on a run.

Westbrook is highly regarded as the best point guard in the league. He’s definitely one of the most athletic that we’ve ever seen. In my opinion, the only thing stopping Westbrook is himself. His will to win can drive him astray at times. He really needs to improve his basketball IQ. I won't blame all of the inefficiency on Westbrook. A big part of that is coaching. Billy Donovan must create more offensive schemes so that he's not forced to create on his own. If not, Westbrook could end up playing his way out of a winning situation. 

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