3 Ways Russell Westbrook should adapt his game from his OKC days

Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Trusting teammates in crunch time

Throughout his career, Westbrook has always been the number one or two option for the Thunder. While such a heavy reliance on him has done wonders for his game, Russell has fallen into a habit of not making the best decisions when pressure is at its highest.

Don’t get me wrong, Russell has hit plenty of clutch shots and made big-time plays in crunch time situations and I expect his debut season with Houston will come with his fair share of these as well. He simply is too athletic and naturally gifted to not make things happen on the court down the stretch.

Sometimes in the playoffs, though, Russ tends to try to do everything by himself in late-game situations. This can often lead to pull-up threes that miss badly, costly turnovers, and other ill-advised decisions. It’s tough to blame him for trying to do too much when looking at a few of Oklahoma City’s rosters post-Durant, however, the situation will be much different in Houston.

James Harden is one of the league’s best in the isolation set, and will rightfully command a lot of attention from opposing defenses as games wind down this season. This should free up Russell to drive to the basket or use his court vision to find an open man such as sharpshooter Eric Gordon.

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Houston was 13-12 in games decided by five points or less last season. In a fully loaded Western Conference, making the right decisions in close battles can mean the difference between starting the playoffs at home or on the road. If Westbrook can trust in his teammates to help him make the right plays, Houston will be tough to stop.

Next: Controlled chaos