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Freddy Lopez of Dime Magazine Thinks Russell Westbrook Will Be the Reason the Thunder Make the NBA Finals

Russell Westbrook: True Determination and Skill
Russell Westbrook: True Determination and Skill

Recently, J.A. Sherman and I were approached by Freddy Lopez of Dime Magazine in order to help him out with an article about Russell Westbrook. We obliged, and our opinions were referenced in his individual article. It's a good read, and you should definitely check it out, but here's a couple "highlights" for you below.

Read the full article here.

SB Nation’s Welcome to Loud City founder, Zorgon, expounded further in an e-mail with regards to Westbrook’s expected playoff improvements:

"During the 2011 Western Conference Finals, Russell Westbrook was like a bull who constantly saw red. The result was one of three things: A highlight reel play, a really badly missed shot, or a turnover. More likely than not, against a championship team like the Mavericks, the result was one of the latter two options. This year, Westbrook still has that same fire in his belly, and he’ll still drive the ball recklessly on the fast break. But when the Thunder are running their offense in crunch time, he plays smarter. While running the ball up, he analyzes the defense, rather than zeroing in on the basket. He’ll call plays, he won’t fire as many quick shots, and he’s willing to defer the hot hand. This tells you that he’s more focused on making plays that actually score, and resorting less to cheap tricks and determination. In laments terms, he’s playing with his head, not with his balls."

"During the playoffs last year, I think the two were caught off-guard by how intently the media was trying to dig into their relationship dynamic, almost as if they wanted to see some fissure," explained Welcome to Loud City’s J.A. Sherman in an e-mail. "This season though, the two seem to understand the media game a bit better and the intensive scrutiny has galvanized them. The entire Skip Bayless nonsense is a perfect example for how they have chosen to approach things — they have each others’ backs. Their personal relationship will have little if any bearing on the playoffs; all that matters is how they perform on the court."