Brian Windhorst recently talked about Russell Westbrook’s shot selection on ‘Brian Windhorst & The Hoops Collective’ pod. The topic was at the forefront of discussion due to Westbrook’s forgettable night against the Nuggets in which he shot one for twelve from three. Here is what Windy had to say about Russ:
“So here’s the thing about Westbrook. You talk to scouts, they will tell you that essentially Westbrook has no interest in anything that Billy Donovan has to say offensively from the bench. I’m not saying what they draw up in timeouts and stuff isn’t the case, but they will say that Donovan doesn’t even bother making play calls and when Westbrook gets into that mode where he’s just going to do what he’s going to do, there’s really nothing that can be done.
“And you could make the argument that you’d have to be stronger with him, or whatever, I mean this is now what his fourth season coaching them? I think you come to just an understanding that when Russell gets into those moods there’s nothing you can really do and Billy has clearly instilled tremendous defensive principles into their team. But they do rank 19th offensively and this is ultimately going to be an issue for them.”
While I am a huge fan of Westbrook’s non-stop motor, there is not one surprising thing in that excerpt, especially if you have been following Russell or the Oklahoma City Thunder since he has been in the league. In fact, there were rumors of these same issues with his former coach, Scott Brooks.
Is RW going to change the way he plays? No, but, one thing to keep an eye on is Billy Donovan’s job status. Donovan is in his fourth year of a five year contract, but the team has the option on his fifth year. There were already rumors in the offseason that he might be out after last season’s disappointing end, yet Sam Presti spoke about continuity and wanted to run it back once Paul George signed.
If the Thunder come up short again this year, it might be best for both parties to go their separate ways. However, if the team’s star player is not listening to the plays called by the coach, is their anyone out there that would change this? Westbrook is in his 10th season and couldn’t control his ways for Kevin Durant or Brooks. Yes he is talented, a triple double machine, and has the tenacity of a pit bull, but is there a coach out there that can teach him some new tricks? That is something we might be discussing when this season concludes.