Does playing with Russell Westbrook make players better or worse?
After seeing my friend Aaron's tweet I gathered some statistics and looked at Russ' production starting with the 2010-2011 NBA season (his first All-Star appearance). These are some of the most basic basketball statistics and of course stats will never tell the whole story.
I looked at 10 prominent NBA players who have played both with and without Russ. Flip through the slideshow, and see if you think the players improved or got worse after leaving Oklahoma City. For PG and Melo, look at what happened when they arrived in OKC.
So does leaving Russ make you better at basketball?
1.) Russell Westbrook - NO EFFECT, he just shoots it more if there are less superstars on his team. He feels like he has to do more so he tries to.
2.) Kevin Durant - NO EFFECT, he played a little less, so he shot a little less, therefor he scored a little less.
3.) James Harden - NO EFFECT, in Harden's first year without Russ he shot the ball a lot more, but his FG% dropped. He just became more aggressive in my opinion.
4.) Serge Ibaka - NO EFFECT, almost everything stayed the same.
5. ) Reggie Jackson - BETTER... barely, in Detroit, Reggie has the ball in his hands much more, allowing him to be more productive.
6.) Dion Waiters - NO EFFECT.. Neither OKC or Cleveland were good fits for Waiters (loves having the ball), now he can dribble more, but I wouldn't say he's gotten better.
7.) Enes Kanter - BETTER, A lot of Kanter's points used to be as a result of drives to the rim by Russ. Now he's getting them on his own
8.) Victor Oladipo - BETTER, not only is he taking more shots, but he's making more as well. He also heavily relied upon in Indiana, unlike in OKC.
9.) Domantas Sabonis - BETTER, shooting more and making a higher percentage of those shots. Also has became a monster on the offensive glass.
10.) Carmelo Anthony -NO EFFECT, Anthony's older and playing with two other NBA All-Stars.
11.) Paul George - NO EFFECT, still adjusting to OKC, and doesn't have to do as much.
It's hard to say whether or not players like Harden and Oladipo would have developed into the stars they are now if they continued playing with Russ. Once their new teams began relying on them more, they became more productive.
The biggest challenge once becoming Westbrook's teammate is simply gaining his trust.