Dancing With Noah

Just messing around, getting triple doubles

Checking in with Russ

Wednesday night was a fun one. I was camped in my usual spot on the couch, NBA TV kicking out basketball magic alongside early-season ineptitude (we see you, Utah!) for multiple hours straight. I switched over to the Oklahoma City-Memphis game just after halftime and had the opportunity to see Dancing with Noah favorite; Russell Westbrook struggle through a historically poor shooting night (see image below—courtesy of NBA TV). So far through three games of the young 2011-12 season, Little Bigs is averaging six turnovers/game and shooting 31% from the field while taking 17 shots/game. The laws of averages tell us that Russ will return to his norms and I believe in those laws. I also believe in trends and reality.

Dating back to the playoffs last year (17 playoff games and three regular season games), Russ is shooting under 40% and averaging close to five turnovers per game. His win shares are as poor as they’ve been his entire career and last night we finally saw a little public spat between Westbrook and Saint Durant. Arguments don’t imply divorce. I argue with my fiancée and I’ve gotten in pissing contests with my friends and had heated disagreements with teammates, so fights alone don’t mean the Westbrook/Durant partnership can’t thrive and continue to blossom. In all the fights I’ve been in, I wanted to work through to a solution and find a compromise. The argument we saw last night was probably nothing more than a heat of the moment thing, but going back to the playoffs last year, I can’t help but wonder about Westbrook’s self-image and intent. Does he see himself as a sidekick or the leading man? Is it 50/50? Is he confused? Am I confused? Am I speculating about shit that doesn’t really exist? Have I asked all these questions in the past and am I repeating my own mistakes searching for answers to hypotheticals that exist only in these confines?

I meant this to just be a quick little blurb, but I’ve slipped into a mini black-hole of curiosity where Russell Westbrook reigns and shoots pull up jumpers on fast breaks and is fueled by a smoldering desire to prove to someone, anyone that he can do it on his own. The “it” is whatever he defines it as.

As long as OKC keeps winning and everyone (Durant, Russ, Scott Brooks, Sam Presti) keeps saying the right things, these sub-par performances and chemistry questions will remain open-ended parts of the drama that spruce up the narrative, but don’t factor into its ending. If/when those things change is when we’ll be able to attach substance to Russell’s saga. It’s been a bad start to 2011-12 for Russ, but it can only get better than the misery he ran into last night:

 

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