There's no doubt in anyone's mind that Oklahoma City superstar Russell Westbrook is one of the most explosive and passionate players in the NBA today, and possesses a very rare set of skills that allow him to be dominant in almost every facet of the game.
Despite the numerous triple-doubles, insane scoring numbers and impressive assist totals, that doesn't mean that Westbrook doesn't have flaws in his game. Right off the bat, the two numbers that jump out at you are his shooting efficiency and his turnover averages, both of which severely hamper Russ' ability to be a constant threat to the other team 100% of the time. Couple that with Russ' intensity and his habit of sometimes getting a little too hot-headed, and you're left with a polarizing All-Star talent that may rub a few people the wrong way.
One of those people seems to be Tom Haberstroh of Bleacher Report, who has gone on record on the Back To Back Podcast to make a pretty bold claim about Westbrook's teammates.
"Leaving Russell Westbrook has been the best thing for just about everyone's career. Has anyone noticed this? Kevin Durant left, and immediately won a title and Finals MVP, James Harden got traded, and since then, nobody has scored more points in the NBA than Harden. He won 65 games this season, he will win an MVP in a year that Russ averaged a triple-double. Victor Oladipo, he left, got traded, and had a career-year, averaged 23 points per game, and is about to win Most Improved Player."
Haberstroh continues along this line of thinking, mentioning the likes of Reggie Jackson, Dion Waiters, Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter and Domantas Sabonis during his spiel.
Obviously, there's more context needed for these arguments. KD left and won a championship, correct, but he joined one of the most stacked teams of all-time. Sure, Harden got better after leaving OKC, but he was 21 years old at the time and was instantly the main focus in Houston, of course he's going to get better. Other than Oladipo and Sabonis, you could argue that the rest of the players Haberstroh mentioned either produced at the same level or got worse after leaving OKC and Russ behind.
Whatever the case, we'll see if Westbrook can silence his critics in game 5 against the Jazz.