The Oklahoma City Thunder have officially been eliminated from the 2019 NBA playoffs in a crazy end with Damian Lillard’s long-range game-winner.
The loss was the third straight first-round exits for the Thunder, all coming after the departure of Kevin Durant who left for the Golden State Warriors. A lot of the pressure of the team has been put on Russell Westbrook and his poor shooting over recent years.
Westbrook had the chance to address his critics during an end-of-season press conference where he told reporters that he plans on improving his shooting next season.
“There used to be conversations that I was a ball hog,” Westbrook said. “Now I lead the league in assists for the past three years, or whatever it is. That’s getting squashed out.
“Now the conversation’s about shooting. Next year, I'm gonna become a better shooter. After that it’ll probably be, f—-, my left foot is bigger than my right one. Who knows?”
">April 25, 2019
Sportswriter and podcaster, Zach Lowe, believes that Westbrook is a long way behind his competitors when it comes to accuracy in shooting.
There’s clearly a lot of improvement that Westbrook will need over the summer if the Thunder are to last much longer in the postseason.
Per Zach Lowe:
‘Westbrook hit 32 percent on jumpers from between 15 and 19 feet this season. Of 104 players who attempted at least three pull-up jumpers per game, Westbrook ranked 104th in accuracy.’
The upside of Westbrook is certainly how much the Thunder guard has improved with his assist game, leading the league in assists for two years running while averaging a triple-double. It’s something very impressive that nobody else has ever achieved before.
If Russell Westbrook can improve his shooting percentage then the Thunder may have a much better chance of a championship.