In the next Players Ratings Series, Russell Westbrook will be rated in all of the key attributes known to an NBA Superstar. Westbrook has been on a tear over the past few years, averaging a triple-double and capturing his first MVP Award.
Westbrook’s aggressive style of play and supreme athleticism makes him one of the most dominating guards in the game today. He is capable of incredible scoring explosions, along with games where he puts up astronomical rebounding and assist numbers at the point guard position.
Westbrook is always in the MVP conversation thanks to his impact on the game, and he is without a doubt a superstar player. Yet, he does have his detractors about his style of play which may raise a few eyebrows.
It is time to put the debate to rest and rate the Rockets star point guard.
Special Skill: Attacking the Basket
Russell Westbrook’s Hero Badge is his ability to attack the rim. Westbrook is simply unstoppable when he decides to attack, and will often always put points on the board for his team. Either through his pinpoint passing or his ability to absorb contact, Westbrook can find open shooters or finish at the rim himself. With an outstanding vertical and quick first step, Westbrook is an absolute monster attacking the basket and he does it every night without an answer for him.
Westbrook is a shooting guard that happens to play point guard thanks to his incredible passing ability. But his scoring is his strongest aspect offensively. He is simply too dominant at attacking the rim, thanks to his supreme physicality and athleticism. Westbrook drives at 100 mph, and there really isn’t a player who can stop him.
Westbrook also has a very effective mid-range jumper and is able to rise up and shoot over most guys at his position. The only knock on his scoring is his poor three-point shooting, and he can often go games where he fails to find the back of the net despite launching multiple threes. If Westbrook can improve in one area, it’s certainly his long-range shooting.
Despite all the critics of his game describing him as selfish, Westbrook is a fantastic playmaker. He consistently averages over 10 assists per game, thanks to his dominance at attacking the rim and his master of the pick n roll. Westbrook can make most passes and has excellent court vision when he has the ball in his hands.
Westbrook averages over 8 APG for his career and is simply one of the best playmakers in the league. Russell still likes to get his shot up, and that is the reason why many claim him to be a very selfish player.
At his size and position, Westbrook might be the greatest rebounding guard of all time. He is fresh off a season where he averaged a whopping 11 rebounds per game, for a stat that is dominated by big men in the paint.
That number is outstanding and shows his ability to affect the game in many different areas. Once again, critics will quickly point to the fact that he might “pad” his rebounding stats, without realizing how difficult it is to grab as many rebounds as he does.
If players could do it as easily as Russ, it will be done more often. But Westbrook’s athleticism and sheer desire make him an excellent rebounder.
Westbrook is one of the players with the highest usage rate, and he certainly controls the ball a lot. Whether through his passing or scoring, Russ is most effective with the ball in his hands.
Due to his incredible ability to cover all aspects of the game, Russ has a tremendous impact on the floor. He can grab 10 rebounds, get over 10 assists, and score 20 points in a single night consistently. He makes it look easy, and he does have a profound effect on his team.
But, his struggles from the perimeter are well noted and he tends to shoot his team out of the game sometimes. Despite being a triple-double threat and stuffing the stat sheet, his inefficiencies and poor shooting weaken his score.
Without a doubt, Westbrook is a special athlete. He is very quick and can compete with the best runners in the game including the likes of De’Aaron Fox. In fact, Westbrook has a legitimate case as being the fastest player in the league when he has the basketball. His vertical is incredible and is a big reason why he averages as many rebounds as he does despite being undersized.
Westbrook is also one of the strongest players at his position, and can usually dominate the physical matchup each and every night. Most guys cannot handle his size, strength, and quickness on a nightly basis.
He might be the most athletic point guard we have ever seen, and he gets an easy 5 stars here.
Defensively, Westbrook can be dominant. As a matter of fact, he should be more dominant. With his physical gifts, he should be locking guys up each and every night. Westbrook simply is bigger than most point guards and can bully them into turnovers.
But he will take lapses on defense and tends to gamble a bit too much. Even when he is disruptive, he tends to allow easy buckets by not paying attention on the floor and even diving in for steals. Westbrook can be an All-NBA Defense talent, but he has not reached there yet.
NBA IQ: 4.0/5.0
One of the biggest knocks on Westbrook’s game is his poor basketball i.q in pivotal moments. Westbrook will often take, and miss, crucial baskets down the stretch by deciding to opt for difficult jumpers or contested shots. Despite being an average shooter, Westbrook will take long contested shots at bad moments during a game and will also be reckless with the ball.
Despite these critiques, Westbrook is still effective with his basketball i.q. including his ability to grab multiple rebounds and find open guys on the floor. Someone who averages a triple-double cannot simply have low i.q.
While Westbrook has a lot of room for improvement, he is at a decent level here.
Westbrook has hit a few clutch shots in his career so far, including one in the final game of his MVP season. He has the desire and confidence in himself to take and make big shots and this counts in his favor.
But he often takes the wrong shots, at the wrong moments. Westbrook tends to brick some late baskets more often than he should, and this counts against him here. His inability to keep turnovers under control on a consistent basis lowers his rating to 4 stars here.
The biggest knock Westbrook’s game until now has been his inefficiencies. He will often shoot a very low percentage from the field and a particularly poor percentage from the three-point line. His poor shooting percentages greatly correlate to poor efficiency.
Westbrook is also prone to mindless turnovers, mainly due to simply going at a place that is too fast. It seems that Russell is still trying to find the balance between going too fast without slowing his pace down too much. While this may signal incoming growth, his efficiency rating takes a dip despite being a very impactful player.
Westbrook has not been able to dominate the Playoffs as he has done in the regular seasons to date, and this brings his rating down a bit.
But Russell has still managed to put up respectable numbers and even has some very memorable performances over the last few seasons. But he was simply incapable of progressing his team past the first round since Kevin Durant left him, and failed to do so with Paul George.
He has a chance to prove himself once again by teaming up with James Harden, and he must perform well to keep his rating up.
While Westbrook is labeled as selfish and a stat-padder, he is actually a player who provides leadership thanks to his unrelenting desire and passion to play the game at the highest level.
Russell Westbrook is a guy who leads by example, and every single one of his teammates will all complement his ability to motivate and light a fire under them with his play. Westbrook simply outworks everybody on the floor, and that is a tremendous showcase of leadership.
At the same time, Westbrook still has some room to grow and he will need to be a better leader if he wants to capture his first NBA Championship.
Russell Westbrook is on his way to a HOF career filled with many individual achievements. He has managed to win the MVP Award, multiple scoring titles, and is a multiple-time All-Star. Not to mention, he has averaged a triple-double over the past few seasons which is a historic feat.
Westbrook still has yet to capture the elusive NBA Championship ring, and he will be hungry to finally add that to his resume. When a player is judged upon his greatness, his ability to dominate the Playoffs and even capture a championship comes into play. As a result, Westbrook still has time to prove himself here.
1 On 1 Game: 4.5/5.0
Westbrook, when he sees a lane to the basket, is simply unstoppable. His quickness and explosiveness make it impossible to challenge him when he attacks at full speed. Westbrook can power through most resistance at the rim, and can even flush it on a defender if he manages to leap.
His one on one game is predicated on his ability to use his athleticism to get where he wants to go, and can even pull up for his patented mid-range jumper. When his shot gets going, he can be very hard to slow down.
Westbrook will also simply be a dog on defense as well, not giving his opponents any space and always looking to force turnovers. His ability to get in a players jersey is a great one on one advantage.
Yet, Westbrook will often settle for difficult shots or even miss shots he should be making. His inconsistency from range slightly lowers his rating here.