On September 12 Russell Westbrook underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Earlier in the Summer Westbrook was at the Team USA practice and a week before surgery he was in New York throwing down dunks and hitting jumpers in the blackops basketball pro runs. Despite resigning Paul George in the off-season, all eyes will be on Russell Westbrook this season.
The surgery will knock Westbrook out of the preseason and he may miss some regular season games. Although he didn’t dominate like he did in his MVP season, Westbrook still managed to average another triple-double. The Thunder once again lost in the first round of the playoffs as Westbrook launched 43 shots in game 6 against the Jazz.
The former MVP got off to a slow start last season as he tried to ease in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. Whenever things looked grim he would revert to MVP season Westbrook and start taking all types of bad shots. With another surgery on his knee, it’s time for Westbrook to adjust his game. He will get off to an even slower start this season and with him out of the lineup Paul George will be the go-to-guy in crunch time.
Westbrook has to try and become a more efficient player. He can start by not attempting so many 3-pointers. After hitting 100+ in back-to-back seasons he went back to normal last season hitting just 97 3-pointers at 29%. The year before he managed to hit 34% which was a career high. He’s a great passer but when things are not going right he still takes a bunch of bad shots. In the playoffs the Thunder dropped 3 straight against the Jazz and he shot 19-54 in those games. In game 6 he took 43 shots for 46 points while George only attempted 16 shots.
If healthy the Thunder have a solid team. The return of Andre Roberson should help the defense and the subtraction of Carmelo Anthony should lead to more shots for Paul George. The Thunder can do some special things this season but Westbrook has to be willing to change just slightly.