Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2011 by NBA Playoff Schedule 2012
The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 4-1 in the Western Conference Finals. 4-1. Hmm, that's the ratio of Russell Westbrook's shot attempts to Kevin Durant's shot attempts, correct?
Dallas finds itself back in the Finals for the first time since 2006, and as it awaits the winner of Chicago/Miami, I will hold off on previewing Miami vs. Dallas, Part II, simply out of respect for the hardworking, likable Bulls. Instead, I'll talk about what happened out West.
- Nick Collison is a championship role player, in the same mold as Shane Battier, Udonis Haslem, Landry Fields, James Posey and Derek Fisher. Collison played tough man defense on some of the best power forwards in the league, Zach Randolph and Dirk Nowitzki. OKC needs to find a way to keep him.
- OKC needs a new offensive dynamic between its two stars, Durant and Westbrook. In the playoffs, Westbrook had a USG of 34.4 but only an offensive rating of 103. Compare that to Kevin Wayne Durant's USG of 29 with an offensive rating of 119. Putting USG and offensive rating together gives you an idea of how well a player can perform at a certain offensive role. Putting the ball in Westbrook's hands gives you an idea of how uncertain he is at accomplishing his offensive role.
- How do you temper Westbrook's USG while giving Durant more offensive responsibility? Either Westbrook becomes a better floor general, or Durant improves his handles to the point where he can consistently make the types of plays for teammates like he did in the first half of game four. It's probably a combination of both. If Durant is going to get to the level of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Kobe Bryant as far as offensive anchors go, he needs to be able to take control of the offense.
- Tyson Chandler is the all-important tight end who acts as a possession receiver- he doesn't make huge plays on offense, but he catches the ball and he's reliable at finishing plays with authority. It comes in handy on third down. He's perfect for the Maverick offense with his low volume, high efficiency play. Brendan Haywood and Chandler are excellent co-defensive anchors next to Dirk Nowitzki.
- Dirk is good.
Westbrook and league MVP Derrick Rose get compared because they're both young, ultra-athletic point guards who are a bit raw relative to Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Steve Nash. The comparison is too simple, however, and relies on the possibility that they are the two best pure athletes at the position in NBA history.
Rose is on another level in my opinion. If you put Westbrook on Chicago, the Bulls would average 25 turnovers a game. Westbrook is not the floor general that Rose can be, which is exactly what Chicago needs. Chicago is such a flawed offensive team that they need Rose to be a volume scorer/creator AND floor general. Now, Rose isn't on CP3's or Nash's level as far as playmaking and decision making, but he's not incompetent like Westbrook is either.
Rose's USG in the playoffs is a league-high 34.9; his offensive rating is a respectable 109. So despite them playing similar roles, Rose appears to be more effective at the role. Never mind that Westbrook doesn't seem smart enough to understand that he shouldn't even be attempting to perform said role since he has a scoring champion on his team to help him. Rose doesn't even have a James Harden to relieve ball-handling duties.
Westbrook needs to work on his game a lot this summer. Rose is closer to his ceiling than Westbrook is to his; I question whether Westbrook will ever get there though, as much as I like him. He may actually have as much or more potential than Rose. Maybe not though- maybe Rose's combination of body control and side-winding explosion enable him to do things even Westbrook can't do, for all of his considerable athletic ability.
But I digress about the seemingly impossible athletic moves they can make...Rose is clearly superior to Westbrook right now.
Category Article Derrick Rose, Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, NBA Playoffs 2011
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