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Lets talk Westbrook

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hisjazziness put it succinctly in his recap of the last game (emphasis mine):

19 Thunder turnovers led to 25 Lakers points. There was just a general carelessness with the ball. This happens too much from Westbrook. I love watching him play, and he does some amazing things (like the block on Gasol and the career high 3 blocks in general) but there are times when he has a shoot-first mentality (something I don't like out of a point guard) and other times when he's not careful with the ball.

Westbrook dished out 7 assists to pair with a team-high six turnovers. While it could theoretically have been even worse, that's definitely not good. Couple the loose ball-handling with a 0.313 FG% on 16 attempts (2nd behind Durant's 20 attempts) and you're asking for disaster. Point of the matter is that Westbrook needs to stop losing the ball -- and tone down the shoddy shooting. On the flip side, one can't allow Bynum to dominate the interior to the point of an 0.818 FG%, 9 boards, 2 blocks, 25 points AND a steal ... in under 30 minutes. To make matters worse, Gasol and Bynum combined for a grand total of 2 personal fouls. The Thunder were thoroughly destroyed inside on both sides of the ball.

However, that's just one game in isolation -- and while it was a thoroughly terrible one, one game is just one game. The more interesting question would be to ask how Westbrook's been doing in the early going overall? Beyond what we've all obviously observed in game to game lapses or highlight moments, I thought it'd be fun to take a few seconds to pull up some of his aggregate stats for this young season.

To date, Westbrook features a TOV% (estimate of turnovers per 100 plays) of 19.0 for the year. That's worse than his aggregate of 82 games from last year (TOV% of 17.6) -- and last year was pretty ugly in that department. Obviously, the off-season plan to work on reducing turnovers hasn't been paying dividends in the early going. Given that he led the league in turnovers last year (with 274!) you'd better hope he starts getting a grip on that, or things are going to get very, very ugly in short order. If you can believe it, RW0 is featuring a higher TS% of 0.520 this year (versus 0.489 last year) even though he's been looking pretty awful shooting the ball (though this personal viewpoint may be slightly affected by visual remnants of seeing him tossing bricks around the court in that last game). Then again, a TS% of 0.520 is nothing to write home about, but as a personal comparison I suppose it does merit notice that while he's been lackluster as a shooter this year, last year he was flat out terrible. As an illustration for comparison's sake Chris Paul's aggregate TS% last year was 0.599, Steve Nashended the year at 0.615, and Jameer Nelsonfeatured a 0.612 TS%. Improvement is good, but Westbrook is far from a deadeye shooter, and jacking up all those blanks is hurting the team.

The question is ... what is it going to take? Is it time to start limiting some of his minutes and giving them to someone else on the roster until he gets it in his head to stop shooting when he can't actually make that shot? Do we have someone else handle the ball more, so as to prevent his ridiculous turnover percentage from costing us momentum and games? Or is it just a matter of throwing him out there enough times and hoping he finally learns how to protect AND shoot the ball?