Russell Westbrook and James Harden have been competing on the court all season, but their fans and haters have been at war all year. If you are a part of any online forum or Facebook group, it appears that there are very few rational people left who are enjoying the success of both of these individuals. There are only Westbrook lovers and haters left, and vice versa for Harden. Recently, a reddit user came up with some statistics that I saw “ballgod” share on Instagram.
The reddit user collected some advanced statistics from around the League to make his case against Russell Westbrook winning the MVP. These statistics included low shot contested percentages due to him leaving his man for the rebound and his teammates assisting his MVP campaign by boxing out for him. If you want to see all of Westbrook’s obscure negative statistics which make little to no sense as to how accurately they were measured, you can click on this link. If you’re ready for the counter arguments, Per Sources Misses Nothing:
Stats provided by the NBA indicate that Russell Westbrook contests 3.6 shots per game. I find this relatively hard to believe considering they have Isaiah Thomas listed at contesting 5.1 shots a game and James Harden at 8.2. Isaiah Thomas contests shots as well a chair can contest my shots. The last time James Harden contested a shot, he shaved the day before… But I digress.
In a conference which includes Chris Paul, Steph Curry, James Harden, Klay Thompson, J J Reddick, D’Angelo Russell, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, not playing defense would surely lose to losses, correct? Except for that one fact where the Thunder were projected to be one of the worst teams in the Western Conference in the off season, yet they are sitting at the sixth seed with an impressive record of 45-33.
Real Plus Minus:
In addition to the fact that the Thunder win games, Russell Westbrook’s true +/- provided by ESPN has him listed as 6th in the League, with a real plus minus of 6.37 trailing only Chris Paul, Draymond Green, LeBron James, Jimmy Butler, and Rudy Gobert. Each of the players Westbrook trails in this category are amazing two way NBA players.
Westbrook only trails the King himself, LeBron James. The Cavaliers are 0-6 without LeBron James. Russell Westbrook has been a work horse all season.
While Westbrook does not rank in the top 40 in the NBA in Defensive Real Plus Minus, there are many stats in his favor which show how active Westbrook is:
Westbrook averages 2.9 deflections and 1.3 loose balls recovered per game, which is a testament to his constant hustle. Harden is also active in this category with a 2.9 and a 1.0 respectively. Both of these players cheat off their man for steals by the way. Oklahoma City is 7th in defensive efficiency per game, the Rockets are 13th. Clearly, the scheme by the Thunder is to drive players off the line and lead them into other players for help defense. You know, the way all great teams in the NBA do it.
STEVEN ADAMS CONTESTS 12.6 SHOTS PER GAME which has him ranked at 11th in the entire NBA. To explain this to the idiots who saw the initial stats and ran away with it just to hate on Westbrook. Billy Donovan’s scheme requires their guards to get players off the 3-point line: Which is why the Oklahoma City Thunder are FOURTH in 3 point defensive efficiency. Guess which teams they trail?! Miami, Utah and San Antonio aka Whiteside, Gobert, and Aldridge. Whiteside, Gobert, and Aldridge each contest over 11 shots per game.
Is Westbrook grabbing rebounds after his teammates box out for him? Yes, that is also Billy Donovan’s scheme. Run n gun. Which is why Russell Westbrook is #1 in the easiest rebounds to collect, only TWO SPOTS AHEAD OF JAMES HARDEN because both coaches run a similar style of offense, except the Rockets have WAY better shooters and better players on their roster.
I’m not here to discredit James Harden. I’m not here to take anything away from the Rockets or what they’ve been able to do. I’m just here to fight back against the terrible, idiotic, statistics presented to hurt Westbrook’s image. If he was so bad at his defensive assignment, why are the Thunder in top defensive categories. Sure, he may not be a Kawhi lock down defender due to the need to savor his energy. But he is doing everything he can on the offensive side of the basketball without costing his team on defense. Imagine if he had more capable shooters around him like.. I don’t know.. an Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson? He is without a doubt a top level MVP candidate.
Per Sources Misses Nothing.
Care to argue? Tweet me: @PerSources