San Antonio Spurs News

Which Russell Westbrook Will Show Up in Game 6?

May 10, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates a basket and a foul against the San Antonio Spurs after scoring in game five of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
May 10, 2016; San Antonio, TX, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates a basket and a foul against the San Antonio Spurs after scoring in game five of the second round of the NBA Playoffs at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /
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Russell Westbrook is going to be the most important player on the court tonight in game 6 between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.

Nobody questions Westbrook’s talent. He’s arguably the most athletically gifted point guard to ever lace up sneakers and play in the NBA.

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The criticism that has been attached to him during his career is entirely fair, though. A point guard should usually put offensive facilitation near the top of his priority lists, but Westbrook appears to have more of a shooting guard’s mentality.

History has shown that this strategy can work. Allen Iverson became a legend with his ability to carry the offensive scoring load for his Philadelphia 76ers teams on his small frame, and even got them to an NBA Finals.

Like Iverson, Westbrook is nearly impossible to stop when he uses his quickness to slash to the rim and finish. However, his flaws are so apparent that they can easily be exploited under the right circumstance.

Iverson was a high volume shooter who never shot the ball at a high percentage despite his lofty scoring totals. Westbrook has been able to improve his game to raise his shooting efficiency, but he still is extremely prone to ill-advised shots.

The fact that he shoots the ball as often as he does from the perimeter is alarming when considering the fact that he hasn’t had a 3-point percentage above 30% for the last two seasons now.

The Thunder are certainly keeping their fingers crossed regarding which Westbrook shows up tonight. Will it be the guy who judiciously uses his explosiveness to create easy chances at the rim and appropriately defers to the much more efficient Kevin Durant at key moments? Or will be be the guy who gets carried away and heaves up a vast array of bad shots which stagnates the Thunder’s offensive attack?

Next: Under Pop, San Antonio Spurs Are Terrible When Facing Elimination

Game 6 is going to be a thrilling showdown.

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