Russell Westbrook and Paul George will bring everything, but they’ll need more

Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook /
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OKC Thunder
OKC Thunder /

Comparing the Mean:

If you’re looking for a positive outlook from those stats, first of all, can we be friends? Second of all, there is one!

Yes, Russ has been exceptionally bad in this series, it’s undeniable. But, the secret behind the Thunder fan’s deserved enthusiasm is a phrase that you’ve all heard misused countless times: regression to the mean.

After a bad shooter hits a couple shots and then airballs one, or a good shooter misses several and then swishes one, you can guarantee that you’ll read a tweet that says or hear an announcer scream “regression to the mean!” Their hearts are in the right place, but they’re slightly misinformed.

The thing about a mean is that it moves with each addition. So, when a 50 percent shooter shoots 0-5, that player is now a less-than-50 percent shooter. The mean has moved downward. Still, that 50 percent shooter has a 50 percent chance of making his next shot, which, odds are, will drag the average back up toward 50 percent. Everyone should think of it in the same way as a coin toss: if you’ve flipped 10 heads in a row, the next flip is still 50 percent heads, right?

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In the same way, a 50 percent shooter, after a slump, isn’t expected to shoot 75 percent for the rest of their career, they’re expected to shoot 50 percent. Their average has decreased, and their performance and their averages are expected to regress toward one another. So no, Thunder fans can’t expect Russ to finish this series with a 50.3percent eFG after his slow, 38.5 percent eFG (vomit noise) start, but they can expect him to throw up his career average of 44.4 percent eFG.

That would be enough.

Final Thoughts

The Thunder can fully expect to get five or six more points from their stars, based on what history has to say. The problem, as has been mentioned on this site previously, is that Westbrook has decidedly not been up to his usual par in this series.

So, no, the OKC Thunder and their faithful can not expect Russ to come out and score 46 points tomorrow, to bring his average for this series back up to his career playoff average. They can only expect him to score 27.1 – his normal playoff average.

Next: Round 1 complete series hub article compilation

But, the Thunder might need an all-time Russ performance, and in the man’s own words, “Why not?”