OKC Thunder fans still captivated by Russell Westbrook

Former OKC Thunder franchise player Russell Westbrook attends the Dior Homme Menswear Spring Summer 2020 (Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage)
Former OKC Thunder franchise player Russell Westbrook attends the Dior Homme Menswear Spring Summer 2020 (Photo by Foc Kan/WireImage) /

In the news for August 15 finds Russell Westbrook dominating the news cycle and continuing to captivate his former OKC Thunder fan base.

Let’s face it even though Russell Westbrook isn’t with the OKC Thunder any more as fans of the Brodie and the franchise we still inhale every article, podcast discussing him or TV segment feature.

Perhaps because it’s the offseason and there aren’t games to watch (FIBA World Cup can’t get here fast enough) but it seems like every time I pull up a national website, get a twitter notification or listen to a podcast its focus is the Brodie. Don’t get me wrong, regardless of where he plays I’m happy to read about him and see what analysts and pundits are predicting for him this coming season.

To that end, here are a few items focusing on our All-Time favorite OKC Thunder point guard and superstar.

The mystery of the 3-point line:

Writer Gavriel Wilkins of Hoops Habit asks the question which undoubtedly will be posed over and over these next two months.

With Westbrook playing alongside his former Thunder teammate James Harden again this is a hot topic particularly because of how high each players usage rate has historically been.

"Despite impacting the game in many ways, Russell Westbrook’s style of play has often drawn mixed reviews from fans and analysts in his career. Can the Houston Rockets guard emerge as a 3-point corner specialist someday?"

At least once a week there is another pundit debating how the two will mesh in Houston and address usage and ball handling. Since Mike D’Antoni and the Rockets are so perimeter oriented the biggest question centers around Westbrook’s ability to fit into the system.

On one side of the argument, there are those who cite the fact Russ will be freed up to make more cuts to the baskets and drives or reposition in the corner with an adept passer like Harden to feed him the ball.

On the opposing side of the equation are those who believe Westbrook has lost his ability to hit from range consistently. And others who point out he is such a creature of habit it will take time for him to adjust. This latter viewpoint has legs given how greatly affected Westbrook was with the Association forcing him to change his routine from the charity stripe when they stopped allowing players to move past center court between free throws.

Notably, Westbrook shot a career-low of  65.7 percent from the charity stripe in season and only  29.0  from deep. But, just like Russ is wont to do in the playoffs he raised those marks to 88.5 percent from the free throw line and 32.4 percent from deep.

While there are some truths in each position, the main thing to remember is these two spent three seasons in OKC honing their skills and chemistry. Each has matured over the seven years they’ve played on opposing teams. And, most importantly, they both want to win, which means compensating however necessary to make it work.

Wilkins article offers up a tweet from Ryan S. of Street History which paints a bleak picture. But, knowing Westbrook the way Thunder Nation does the adage ‘where there is a will, there is a way’ comes to mind.

And hey, here’s a novel idea (pay attention Sam Presti)- maybe the Rockets will hire a shooting coach to help with Westbrook’s mechanics.

Fashion Maven:

It’s not like fans haven’t heard this before. Virtually any player or fashion aficionado you ask will cite Westbrook as the most fashionable NBA Player. Part of it is the audacity with which he dons particular outfits that simply put  – no one else could pull off (photographer’s bib anyone?).

However, Kristine Leahy of CBS Sports Radio offers a bit of a spin on her take.  I won’t ruin the surprise as she makes a very relevant case.

Existing and former players gush about Westbrook:

In two separate entries, a former player (one of my All-Time favorites) Grant Hill and new teammate PJ Tucker both gush about Westbrook.

Hill makes an excellent point regarding how Russ was able to switch his game up to allow Paul George to be the primary scorer. Not only did Westbrook embrace that role but short of injuries to both shoulders are we having a different discussion about who collects the MVP or DPoY Award this past season?

Hill went on to suggest Westbrook has proven he can register all the individual accomplishments and now is ready to prove he can win. You can catch Hill’s full comments in The Jump segment video below.

New teammate PJ Tucker also opined on Westbrook and the excitement of his Rockets teammates regarding his addition. Tucker discussed this during a break at the Team U.S. practice.  Writer Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle offered up Tucker’s comments:

"“Everybody’s excited, rightfully so, to add Russ to our team. I think it’s something we’ll have to work at. We can’t skip steps. It’s about us coming together to make it work, seeing how different lineups, different matchups will change. Coach (Mike) D’Antoni is really good at that."

More from Thunderous Intentions

It’s not particularly surprising for a teammate to be this enthused about adding a superstar.

What adds relevance to Tucker’s comments is he is a very good friend of Chris Paul.

Although CP3 and Tuck may not have been viewed as publicly as the bromance of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, they have an equally brotastic friendship. In fact, Tucker turned down more money from the Raptors to join the Rockets because of his long-standing friendship with Paul.

So, Tucker’s words have substance and carry weight behind them.

Ode to Westbrook:

Finally, in case you missed Rylan Stiles homage to the Brodie click the link below.

Next. Thank you, Russell Westbrook; a trip down memory lane. dark

That’s it for OKC Thunder in the news on Friday, August 16. Enjoy the rest of your day and remember to bookmark Thunderous Intentions to catch up on your favorite players and team.