While discussing the current series between the Houston Rockets and Lakers, ESPN’s Max Kellerman had an interesting take on Russell Westbrook.
The Houston Rockets are in the middle of a heated battle with the Los Angeles Lakers, which is resulting in more national coverage on the team. On Tuesday morning’s First Take, Russell Westbrook became a topic of discussion after his lackluster Game 2 performance, prompting some hot takes about the superstar.
Westbrook has been getting heat from the media, Rockets fans, and even himself about his play in Game 2, which is warranted. In his fifth playoff game this season, Russell went away from what’s been making him such a successful co-star to James Harden by reverting to some old habits.
One of the main detriments to his game so far has been his shooting percentage. Westbrook shot 41.7 percent in three games against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which including an ice-cold 16.7 percent from beyond the arc (1-for-6). So far, against the Lakers, his outside shooting has remained the same at 2-for-12 while his overall field goal percentage has dipped to 39.5 percent.
Given what Russell is capable of, he expects better of himself, and so does the national media. When discussing Westbrook’s effect on the ongoing second-round series against the Lakers, Max Kellerman dug deep into his hyperbole chamber.
“He’s so competitive, but I think sometimes he needs to learn to relax a little bit,” started Kellerman. “If Russell Westbrook could really shoot, he’d be the best player of all time. We already know he can’t shoot. If this dude could stroke it from three, who would ever stop him?”
It’s hard to argue that Russell Westbrook developing a jump shot would make him unstoppable. Kellerman’s point is likely an exaggeration to emphasize everything else he does well on the court that is currently being hindered by his low shooting percentage.
Westbrook has a ways to go to be considered an all-time great, but his career averages of 23.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game attest to just how good he’s been so far. The Rockets started to see the most success when Westbrook was driving the ball like a mad man and making his 3-point attempts a rare occasion.
He’ll need to adjust and go back into attack mode while also staying in control if Houston wants to remain a legitimate title contender moving forward.