Things are getting heated this NBA playoff and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. Debates come and go all day long about everything that is currently taking place in the association, but one of the fiercest and most controversial are the ones involving the current NBA MVP winner, Russell Westbrook.
It’s not a secret that Russ has been the target of many criticisms in the past and even more now that he’s trying to lead and take his team to achieve important things, like winning the Larry O’Brien once and for all. Unfortunately, Westbrook hasn’t been capable of leading his squad and now the criticism has increased towards the point guard, who is not having his best moment.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has also discussed this topic on First Take, stating Westbrook is incapable of leading a team to get a ring as the No. 1 option.
“If they lose this series, it would be three consecutive years that Russell Westbrook went home in the first round,” Smith said. “We know that he is the most athletic point guard we’ve ever seen, we know that he’s one of the greatest athletes this game has ever seen, high-end competitor, never cheats us with efforts, but because of the things that I mentioned previously, those things are gonna (…) the positives that we’re saying about him, and as a result, all the ire and the frustration is going to be pointed solely in his direction.”
When asked about whether or not a team led by Russ can become a championship one, Smith said:
“It appears to be no at this particular moment of time, it appears to be no. Not if Russell Westbrook is your number one option, not if he’s your leader. Nobody would sense with questioning the talent of Russell Westbrook. We know he’s an elite talent, he’s Superstar caliber talent, but when you play the point guard position and you’re ball-dominant, meaning you’re running the offense and most of the stuff is in your hand, that means a decision making is also on your shoulders, not just your prowess as an athlete and as an individual talent.”
The Thunder are losing their Western Conference first-round series 3-1 against the Portland Trail Blazers, hoping to make history and overcome that defeat, but that doesn’t look very plausible. Westbrook is often blamed for the bad moments his team has to go through and that’s not crazy since depending on how he plays, the rest of this teammates play, and, seeing how his team has fared this postseason, you can tell how bad Westbrook has played.
They are a couple of hours away before going back to Moda Center to start the comeback, but with an inspired team of Portland, Westbrook and OKC will have to play harder if they want to really succeed and keep his title hopes alive.