Last night on ESPN during the Thunder-Heat telecast, Jeff Van Gundy called Russell Westbrook the best point guard in the NBA this season, also pointing out Derrick Rose couldn’t be because he isn’t playing enough.
Could this be true?
Well, Westbrook isn’t really a point guard and doesn’t really play like one. That’s just what his position says. Also, last night probably wasn’t the best time to bring this up since Westbrook struggled against the Heat scoring 13 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
But Van Gundy may actually be right, to some extent. Among players that play the position “point guard” Westbrook is probably doing more than anyone else this season. He doesn’t do the job you’d expect a point guard to but does a lot of other things too.
He’s fifth in the league among point guard averaging 4.5 rebounds per game and first averaging 1.4 offensive rebounds per game.
He leads all point guards averaging 24.0 points per game but is averaging the least amount of assists per game since his rookie season with just 5.4.
He’s shooting 47 percent from the field and probably takes tougher shots than most players in the NBA on a regular basis. His shot has also really come on of late and he is shooting .415 percent from three in the month of March while attempting 3.8 per game.
He’s averaging 3.8 turnovers per game this season but has also brought that number down to 2.7 in March.
There aren’t a lot of point guards putting up these numbers this season. But before we can consider Westbrook the best point guard, he’s going to have to start doing a few things point guards do.
His assists are still just above five which isn’t enough and the Thunder need more from him there. Oklahoma City got 35 points out of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins last night in their win over the Heat. They are going to need to be able to get those nights when the time comes in the playoffs and Westbrook becoming more of a playmaker will be key for that to happen.
Let’s not call Westbrook the best point guard in the NBA just yet. Chris Paul and Derrick Rose deserve that title. But will Westbrook deserve First Team All-NBA this season? That’s a better question and he just might.