Is Russell Westbrook hurting the Thunder?

It was painful at times. I tweeted that during the game(Shameless plug: Follow me on twitter @CriesfromCrowd). Russell Westbrook kept taking contested shots and they kept bouncing off the rim. He played right into what the Heat wanted him to do, and that’s take jump shots.

It’s the same thing that the Thunder are trying to do with Dwayne Wade. Force him into tough shots because they know he’ll settle for them. Both Russell Westbrook and Dwayne Wade have been settling for more shots than they should in this series, but Wade came up big in Game 2. Westbrook? Not so much.

Westbrook did score 27 points on 10-26 shooting, but a lot of those didn’t come easy. He was also 2-6 from the three point line and 5-7 on free throws. Westbrook is a very good player, but he’s much better at getting to the rim than he is on jump shots.

In Game 2, Westbrook was 6-13 on layups and 4-13 on jump shots. Not very good percentages there, especially when you consider that Kevin Durant was 2-4 on layups and 8-16 on jumpers. Also, Durant didn’t miss a single field goal until about midway through the second half. Westbrook is an important part of their offense, but Durant is the one who’s going to win games for them.

Even in their Game 1 win, Westbrook statistically played an even worse game than he did in Game 2. He shot 7-11 on layups but was and awful 3-13 on jump shots. In Games 1 and 2 combined, that adds up to 7-26 on jump shots or 27% shooting. Compare that the 50% shooting that both Kevin Durant and James Harden are shooting on their jump shots in the final, and you start to see a bit of a problem.

I’m not telling Russell Westbrook that he should stop shooting jumpers, because occasionally he does get good looks. He just needs to take better shots and not rush them like he is now. Either that, or he’s going to continue to hurt the chances for the Thunder in the NBA finals.


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