Despite possessing the second best record in the Western conference, OKC Thunder star Russell Westbrook continues to be underappreciated by media around the league.
Following the largest regular season comeback in OKC Thunder history, Paul George was rightfully the man of the hour. The five-time All Star poured in 47 points, including 25 in the fourth quarter to stun the Brooklyn Nets 114-112.
Yet, one of the talking points was a Russell Westbrook shot in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Popular sports talk show The Ringer discuss Russ’ shot selection in the middle of PG’s hot spell and his ranking in their top 25.
The Brodie posted a ridiculous 21 points, 15 rebounds and 17 assists while turning the ball over twice in 40 minutes. Westbrook took just two shots in the fourth quarter and constantly looked to feed PG therefore this criticism is somewhat unfair. Is he a flawed player? Sure but as ESPN writer Royce Young says Russ’ mistakes are loud.
PG’s performance was one for the ages but its amazing that Russ’ monster triple-double was a secondary story. Russ’ “intentional” stat-padding is a narrative that continues to be pushed throughout the media like a sad, low-hanging fruit joke.
Disrespect in Top 25 rankings
The following list was compiled from the Ringer’s panel of experts and where they ranked players through the first quarter (approximately) of the season.
Below is how they viewed the top 15 players this season so far (read the full review here).
PG13 is having a career best season averaging 24.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists. He manages to squeeze inside the top 15 at number 14. The Brodie makes the list but not where you might think.
Russ is currently averaging a triple-double, putting up 22.7 points, 10.2 rebounds and 10 assists on 46.2 percent shooting in 15 appearances. The Ringer took aim at two stats:
- Russ shooting 22.4 percent from three on 4.1 attempts (more than last season)
- Missing “half” the season
The panel has a point regarding Westbrook’s 3-point shooting and most Thunder fans would prefer if he averaged no more than two attempts per game. However, dismissing his contributions based on one major weakness is absurd. Oklahoma City are 11-4 when Russ graces the hardwood and have gone 13-3 since an 0-4 start.
No matter which way the Brodie turns, it seems he will never get the respect he deserves.