Nov 29, 2013, 5:01 PM EDT
Just having Russell Westbrook back on the court has opened up the Thunder offense — they are three points per 100 possessions better in those last 10 games, the Thunder are shooting better (four percentage points better from three) and most importantly they are 8-2 as a team. That includes wins over the Spurs and Clippers.
All that despite the fact Westbrook has not found his shot. At all.
He is shooting 38.8 percent overall this season and 29.3 percent from three. After missing all of training camp and the start of the season (not to mention last playoffs) trying to recover from surgery to repair a torn meniscus, she has not been able to shake off the rust.
“It’s going to take time,” Westbrook said. “Your legs got to get stronger, your body, all your muscles got to get used to working and getting back going.”
Here are two reasons Thunder fans shouldn’t worry (and maybe the rest of the league should).
First, he started slow last season even when healthy — he shot an identical 38.8 percent through 10 games last season, as noted in the Oklahoman piece.
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $40,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Friday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $6,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Friday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Second, look at the shots he is missing.
Westbrook is not finishing well at the rim — and that will change. He’s shooting just 41.8 percent on shots within 8 feet, break it down further and he’s shooting 39.1 percent in the paint. As he gets used to playing against the rim protectors in the NBA, as he gets used to trusting his athleticism to finish in those situations, his shooting percentage will go up close to the rim. As will his scoring numbers.
Just the threat of Westbrook has improved the Thunder offense. Wait until he starts knocking down shots.
- Who is still out there: Top 10 free agents still on the market 5
- Donald Trump says he’s becoming a Mavericks fan after Mark Cuban’s comments 35
- Report: Michael Jordan shot down Boston draft-day effort to get Charlotte No. 9 pick 30
- Wisconsin State Assembly passes Bucks arena deal, clearing the way for Gov. Walker to sign 36
- Phil Jackson says Knicks wanted Goran Dragic at trade deadline. Because he’s such a triangle fit? 16
- Report: Cavaliers sign Matthew Dellavedova 10
- Heat trade Zoran Dragic, second-rounder to Celtics 11
- Report: Cavaliers trade Brendan Haywood, Mike Miller, two second-round picks to Portland 17