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The case for Russell: Defending Westbrook’s defense

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Why Westbrook’s defense is a little better than you may think

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Two things you can always count on: Russell Westbrook and Snapchat. Most of the time you can rely on both at once:

Most often, it’s our advanced numbers and statisticians sitting in front of computers in their basement telling us who the next great leader of our fine league will be after a careful calibration of the numbers. But sometimes there is a real effect to the eye-test, to watching a guy play his heart out every game with a bunch of undermanned teammates and a whole world waiting to watch him strike out on his own, even if it just a killer Snap.

What you’re seeing here is real time proof of the world’s most thrilling MVP chase, and yet in the choice for best player of the season, best point guard, best two-way guard… all roads lead to Russ.

I’m not going to rehash numbers about his triple doubles - he is the most complete triple doubler since Lebron and Jordan, the select few weeks they both chose to take over the point guard position and try their hand at running the entire show. It was fun while it lasted for those two legends, but for the next legend it’s just beginning. He is a shoot-first point guard, getting mostly uncontested rebounds, and averaging a startling number of turnovers in order to get those double digit and 20 assist games. FYI, turnovers lose games more than any individual stat, so yikes. But it’s fine, our easy schedule has let him get a head of steam and build up enough momentum that not even Jordan or LeBron themselves could stop him this far into the season.

Speaking of stopping other players, how does this erratic point guard hold up on the defensive end? After all, we are in somewhat of a golden age of point guards, or at least players choosing to take this position as a way of increasing their numbers.

In Defense of Russell’s Defense

You remember because I remember. It was a do-or-die game at home and of course it was the playoffs against those damn Grizzlies. We might see them again this year and if we do I would welcome it because I know that we have Russell Westbrook ready to pounce.

When we didn’t have him in the toughest games, guards had an easier time. You’ve seen me write about how he helped Durant on offense in ways you couldn’t imagine, but he also helps out his fellow perimeter crew in every way necessary.

The quick numbers:

- Guarding 3s he makes opponents shoot 5% lower from the field

- Guarding midrange he makes opponents shoot 4% lower from the field

- Guarding shots in the paint he makes opponents shoot 6% lower from the field

- All from NBA.com Field Goals Defended

Here’s an idea - have Westbrook gamble on less possessions and surely he’ll make fewer defensive errors and contribute to a sounder scheme overall, but have him reduce his gambling to naught and you’re neutering his athletic prowess. Gambling is part of basketball’s thrill, and although we strategize to minimize it, we should never seek to erase it entirely. Sometimes human error is part of the picture - the same picture that stats can’t fully explain sometimes, and maybe that’s why we need SnapChat.

If you want to learn more about OKC NBA Fantasy, read below!

For those of you who play fantasy basketball, you probably understand the pain and struggle one has to go through just to set up a league to play against friends. Having played for 6 years now, I got really sick and tired of everything, especially since neither ESPN nor Yahoo have put a dime into designing better UI for the user. I mean seriously - a multibillion dollar company and the site hasn't gotten an update in some 500+ years.

The way these sites work is that you message everyone you want to play against a few weeks prior to the season starting, set up a draft date, and then draft all your players. There is an inherent flaw in this because it means that I can't invite a friend to a league that I've already made a week later. So if I wanted to play against 2 sets of friends, it would mean that I would have to create a NEW league and manage a NEW team. This became an unnecessary amount of work. And on top of that, there is a cap on the amount of people that can join your league, so it’s virtually impossible to play against, let's say, all OKC Thunder fans.

That’s why I was super pumped when my friend invited me to join his exclusive okcThunder league. It already has over a hundred people in it and we’re looking for more people to join! To do so, just:

1. Join the league “okcthunder” on Roshi (https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1069299937)

2. Choose players you think are going to do well that day

3. Move up in rank as your players do well

That’s literally it. Hope to see you guys there soon!