Former OKC Thunder superstar Russell Westbrook failed to make the grade for the ESPN top 74 individual player seasons he does make the top 74 player list.
Another list served up by ESPN and more food for debate. This time the list features the top 74 players in NBA history as voted on by a panel of experts. Unlike the top individual seasons, Russell Westbrook makes the grade this time for his time spent with the OKC Thunder.
The first installment provides the players who rank 74th through 41st. No doubt, they’ll be more former OKC Thunder players who appear in the second installment such as James Harden and Kevin Durant. In addition, presumably, Chris Paul will also make the cut given the sheer number of top 10 all-time statistics he is on.
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Others making the initial installment who have ties to the Thunder by virtue of playing for the original Seattle SuperSonics franchise are Ray Allen (56th) and Gary Payton (53rd). Similar to the above notations players from the Sonics who could realistically make the top 40 list might be Jack Sikma and possibly Shawn Kemp or Nate McMillan.
As for Westbrook, he lands in the 42nd spot on the list based on 11 seasons with the OKC Thunder and partial first season with the Houston Rockets.
His overall career per game statistical notes include 23.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 8.3 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.1 deep balls. Royce Young offers up the explanation for The Brodie. Young allows for the constant debate of whether the enigmatic point guard is a help or hindrance. The most intriguing comment he makes is if Russ ever wins a title that will improve his overall placement in history and likely move him into the top 25.
A portion of Young’s excerpt:
He made the triple-double not only seem normal but to some dissenters, no longer a worthwhile achievement. Ten years ago, that seemed unthinkable. With three consecutive seasons averaging a triple-double — and an MVP award in 2016-17 — all Westbrook is missing to elevate into the top 25 discussion is that one, shiny thing.
Presumably, the next installment will follow today (Tuesday) although ESPN could draw this out by releasing the players ranked 40th through 1st in groups of ten.
Again, we’re expecting to see Chris Paul, James Harden, and Kevin Durant in the top 40. Paul George might make the list but without a title on his resume, and some sub-par playoff performances that’s not a given since the article states total career value and peak performance are the key determining factors.
The link is listed at the top but you can also click here to view the entire 74th through 41st player ranking along with reasons for their ranking.