I'm just curious do people still believe Russell Westbrook is still better then James Harden ?
Russell poor decisions hasn't changed. I don't even see him attempting to create any plays for anyone other then simply dumping the ball to Durant so he can go iso. In transition everyone routinely standing around watching him pull up for a mid range jumper. His defense is good, but not great as people seem to make it out to be. I have stated before he is pg that gets his not much else. James Harden on the other hand is arguably a top 5 player in the league now, and the super star label has started to stick with him. Harden is more efficient a player as a whole that could even do a better job at the one spot, and is obviously the better two then Westbrook in my opinion.
I wanted the Thunder to keep Harden too. He plays so much more within the team and within his abilities. I feel the rest of the players on the Thunder would have more enthusiasm on the offensive end with James in the game because they have a chance of touching the ball.
Westbrook looks out for #1, himself. I can't stand watching him play. Watching them play the Nuggets last night, if he had the ball in transition he was either A.) driving recklessly to the hoop B.) shooting a mid range jumper or C.) turning it over. He simply doesn't look for teammates on the break often.
Don't get me wrong, Westbrook is an absolutely fantastic talent. He just doesn't play within his abilities at all times, and makes costly mistakes in crunch time. He is either the hero or the chump. Harden would make the best possible play for the TEAM at end of game situations. I really think the Thunder boned this up.
Westbrook had 38,6,5 last night on over 50% from the field. Give the guy a break.
Did you watch him get no one else on his team involved last night though? Just because he put up an outstanding stat line with a great fg%, doesn't mean he didn't impact the game negatively for his team on the offensive end.
It's almost like that stat that keeps showing up for Kobe. When Kobe takes 20+ shots the Lakers are 2-23 or something (not exact, I did not look it up). Kobe scores a lot and gets assists and rebounds, but ultimately hurts his team.
Stats can be deceiving sometimes. Just playing devil's advocate here.
Kobe is inefficient thats why the Lakers lose when he shoots over 20 times. Westbrook shot over 50% last night, so that doesn't hurt OKC offensively. Westbrook does shoot too much some games, but not last night.
Russell, and I watched the whole game, didn't seem to be rushing or forcing anything. His 38 came pretty easily and efficiently
It's a good question that can only gain momentum while the Rockets continue to develop. However, I don't think it's right to compare Westbrook's and Harden's stats straight up. Westbrook is playing within an elite contender, while Harden has the green light as a top dog on a 7-8 seed team. Westbrook could put up similar numbers if in a similar position.
But when you just look at their games, it is undeniable that Harden is the more natural playmaker. Westbrook's development as a passer has stagnated which does hurt the Thunder against good teams. Simultaneously, Westbrook is an elite rebounder for a guard and a near-great defender. (I haven't heard people exaggerate his defense like the OP suggested). The Thunder have been able to be dominate because they can defend the perimeter so well and eliminate second chance scoring from O. Rebounds. If you switched Harden with Westbrook, the Thunder would suffer in those two categories.
Like I said it's a good question. IMO they are different players with different pros and cons. Right now the Thunder are great, and a lot of that comes from what Westbrook brings to the table. While his decision making is a problem, its less of an issue compared to their lack of post-scoring and lack of a half-court offense.
you sir, you are a gentleman and a scholar. I applaud you.
Put Westbrook in Harden's place on the Rockets and he puts up 29, 8 and 5 easily. Harden is great, but we have to factor their frantic pace and the fact that everything goes through him too. He'd still be a great player on a traditionally paced team, but more like 22, 4, and 4 instead of 26, 6 and 5.
You have a serious problem with Westbrook. He is the head of this OKC team. HE's NOT THE BETTER PLAYER but he is definitely the head. He turns up the intensity and gets everyone else going. I dont know your definition of getting everybody involved. An assist is an assist. He opens the floor up for KD since KD is not the creator Russ is. If KD had to create like Russ, his shooting percentage wouldnt be as good as it is. KD actually benefits from the aggressiveness of Westbrook. ESPN showed a stat the other night. Russell Westbrook has assisted or scored on 41% of the Thunder's points this season. I mean, what else do you want? People hold it against him because he's stronger and more athletic than other point guards. That doesnt make him a shooting guard. I dont get that. If Russ played in Houston, he'd most likely avg 29+ points per game.
Russ' team wins, he contributes to half of the points while playing point guard and is among the top 5 in the league in assists. How does he not make anybody better? He averages slightly more assists than Tony Parker, who also scores more than 20pts per game. Does that mean that Tony isnt a real point guard and doesnt get others involved?
I think that Westbrook is a great player,but for god sake he's a PG that take more shot's than Durant in the game and Durant is a best scorer in NBA i just want to see Westbrook pass more,he got such a good team he could have over 10 assist per game
I know exactly what you're saying but the eye test isnt always enough. For instance, Kobe is a lethal scorer, one of the best of all time. It should be a good thing when he scores 30+ points... Remember earlier in the season when the Lakers record was 1-12 when Kobe scored 30pts and it was astonishingly better when he scored less? Just watching basketball and knowing how important Kobe is to the Lakers ou would think he should score 30...
The same thing happens with the Thunder in a different way. KD is clearly the best player and scorer on the team. So its easy to assume he should take the most shots. Last season in the midst of all the Westbrook criticism, ESPN dropped an advanced stat that showed that the Thunder had won at a drastically higer rate when Westbrook took more shots than KD. I dont remember the exact number but their was a huge difference in between wins and losses. Its doesnt make a lotta basketball sense, but it's still a fact.
LMAO... Nice try trying to explain why Russell Westbrook, a low 40's FG shooter, should be taking more shots than Kevin Durant, a guy who's shooting 50, 40 and 90 from the floor!
Durant should be touching the ball almost every trip. Those wasted possessions where Westbrook just dribbles without passing and then pulls up need to be scrapped.
I know Westbrook has had some phenomenal games like last night, but its no secret the Thunder seem to lose a lot of the games when he has a huge game and Durant doesn't. For me, its fairly easy. Westbrook is a GREAT athlete. He can do things no one else in the whole league can do. But Harden just brings so much more to the table. He is good ball handler, he is a good passer, he can score in such a variety of ways. If you look at some advanced stats, when he drives, the Rockets score at an unbelievable rate. He finishes at the rim, he gets to the line more than just about anybody, and he can shoot the 3. He is a complete basketball player, and fills in so many blanks for you on a night to night basis. Westbrook is great, no question. I just think Harden is better.
Russell Westbrook is more athletic, but James Harden is the better basketball player IMO. I don't think it's really all that close either when it comes to who plays the game better.
James Hardens' stats are inflated due to him having the green light and he's able to dominate the ball. Also houston is a running team with few to zero half court sets so James can just operate how he feels. He's still a great player though. Although he's a good passer lets not ignore the fact that he averages 4 turnovers a game.
Its hard to argue his stats are inflated when if you read into all the advanced metric statistics, he's one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA since he gets to the line so much. Westbrook on the other hand is wildy inefficient and obviously has the green light since he has taken more shots than his teammate, the 3 time reigning scoring champion. I feel like that is the definition of a green light. And you think OKC operates some advanced offense? Their ball movement is horrid, and they isolate for Durant and Westbrook all the time. I'm not doubting OKC is a better team than Houston, but Westbrook gets just the amount of opportunity Harden does, and Harden is more efficient.
Russ just finished the month of February averaging 25 ppg and shooting over 50% for the entire month. Great timing. Lol James and Russell are both great players and they bring completely different skills to the table. To say harden is definitely better is silly if ya ask me
Yes Harden is better. Best 2G in the league right now. If you think Kobe and Wade are better, well that is fine. But Harden is nearly a decade younger than those guys. So he is at the very least the most long term valuable 2G in the league. Westbrook would not make my top five for PGs (CP3, Rose, Parker, Rondo, Curry, Irving, all better than him, and that is six). But, to be fair, PG is the most stacked position in the NBA right now and 2G is neck and neck with C for weakest position. Every team out there is trying to find the next MJ to play SG and they are ending up with inefficient gunners who try to shoot their way to max contracts. But Harden is the real deal. He coasted last night against the Magic, had something like 2 points in the first half. Then dropped 11 points in the fourth when the Magic refused to just go away. So he had to take over. It was great game management, got guys, especially the new starting PF, MOJO, involved early. But when the team couldn't quiet get it done, Harden just lowered the hammer.
Paul George should also get thrown into that convo even though he's been playing 3 w granger out.... I wud definitely take Russell over curry. Probably over rondo too. 3pt shot is much improved, as is the passing this year. The dude wins basketball games. End of story
If Curry was as consistently healthy as Westbrook, I'd take him over Russ, I'd take Rondo too. I REALLY don't think Russ would put up 29ppg with any sort of efficiency if he was in Harden's situation, he practically has the green light in OKC with the amount of looks he gets and he's not there, it's hard to imagine them jumping when he's getting more defensive attention without Durant around.
Honestly, Russ' inability to actually create plays is holding the Thunder back more than anything; he gets assists by making easy passes to jump-shooters, but as far as actually giving another player a better look due to his creativity, I just never see it.
They REALLY need another playmaker on that Thunder team, I'm hoping Fisher can provide a steadying influence, because against teams that can defend isolations well (i.e. Miami in particular) the Thunder as constructed are going to struggle, because they aren't a great defensive team, and their half-court offense is not great.
I'd take Harden over Westbrook, I was a doubter after his choke in the Finals, but he's assumed the mantle of responsibility and overcome his demons. That said, I don't think Harden would be this good for the Thunder unless Westbrook was traded, it had reached a point where he was no longer at his best coming off the bench and needed a bigger role, whether that meant moving Russ for a more conventional PG or not, it became apparent that this wasn't going to work out.
though harden dominates the ball in Houston... he is still an efficient player despite 3.7 turnovers per game... he shoots 45% from the field and 10 FT attempts per game... westbrook is great in his own right... I would be kinda scared if he was the main guy on a team.. hes to impulsive at times
he shoots the ball 19 times playing with the best scorer in the NBA... just imagine how many shots he would get as the number one option
Im sorry, im taking Westbrook, he averages more rebonds and assist than Harden in LESS minutes and turns the ball over less, I'd love to see what type of numbers Westbrook would put up on a team by himself and playing 40 mins....scary.
Another thing I forgot to mention is.....yall see who OKC gave the money to first(Westbrook).
Westbrook has his own team. He shoots the ball much more than Durant and has now for a couple of years. Plus he is the undisputed PG, sharing the back court with a defensive specialist or a pure shooter who rarely handle the ball. He can't really get more opportunities than he has. For the last few years only Kobe and Melo have shot the ball more often than Westbrook. If he played a few more minutes, yes his stats per game would be better. But they are already good. The fact is that he might have more time on the court so he might get up one or two more shots. But he is and has been for his career simply a guy who scores at just a bit better than league average efficiency. In 2011 his TS% was 53.8%, then in 2012 it was . . . 53.8%. And now it is 53.3%. Basically a decent number for a PG. But nothing special. Kyrie Irving, for example, is 56% in each of his two seasons. And he is shooting a ton without much help. He is just a better scorer than Westbrook.
And you can't compare assists between a PG and SG. Especially when the SG plays with a pass first PG. But rebounds is fine. Westbrook is a beats on the glass for a PG and better than Harden. If Harden weren't worlds better at scoring, then rebounding would make a difference. But they are on different planets in their scoring efficiency, while they each carry a heavy load, so you can't make the argument people made last year that Harden was being carried by Durant and Westbrook and scoring easy points against backup squads.
Love the comment above ragging on Russ for getting assists "making easy passes to jump shooters."
First of all... watch him play more often - he does make terrific passes.
Second, it's all well and good to have someone make flashy passes, but when you have jump shooters shooting the lights out like Thabo and Durant are this year, please, make easy passes to wide open jump shooters standing at the 3 point line hitting 40+%.
Last point, PGs create in different ways. It's not an accident that Thabo and Ibaka (and sometimes inadvertently KD) are sitting wide open to receive those passes. Teams have to pack the lane on Russ. Sure some of the wide-open is attributable to Durant, but if we're talking about make easy passes to jump shooters... that means Russ had the ball, and he was drawing the defense's attention.
@tallman he shoots .8 more shots per game than KD. I wouldn't call that much more.
Definitely agree Harden is a better scorer than Russell. I don't think anyone questions that. (I do think James' shooting numbers are down a bit playing against first teams... should just go check, but feeling lazy). I don't think that James has anywhere near the impact that Russell has on the defensive end. Russell creates havoc. Sometimes, he gambles more than I'd like, but I also think that his defensive energy impacts the other team's offense directly, and it also impacts his teammates' defense and when they're playing at home - the crowd. The hustle and energy that Russell brings is hard to put into numbers. There are few people who bring more to the court everyday. The Manimal comes to mind... KG...
I haven't watched James play enough this year in Houston to know, but I've never been very impressed by his defense and hustle. I think the energy comes back to bite Russell sometimes, but I think more often than not, it's good