Just having Russell Westbrook back on the court has opened up the Thunder offense — they are three points per 100 possessions better in those last 10 games, the Thunder are shooting better (four percentage points better from three) and most importantly they are 8-2 as a team. That includes wins over the Spurs and Clippers.
All that despite the fact Westbrook has not found his shot. At all.
He is shooting 38.8 percent overall this season and 29.3 percent from three. After missing all of training camp and the start of the season (not to mention last playoffs) trying to recover from surgery to repair a torn meniscus, she has not been able to shake off the rust.
“It’s going to take time,” Westbrook said. “Your legs got to get stronger, your body, all your muscles got to get used to working and getting back going.”
Here are two reasons Thunder fans shouldn’t worry (and maybe the rest of the league should).
First, he started slow last season even when healthy — he shot an identical 38.8 percent through 10 games last season, as noted in the Oklahoman piece.
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Second, look at the shots he is missing.
Westbrook is not finishing well at the rim — and that will change. He’s shooting just 41.8 percent on shots within 8 feet, break it down further and he’s shooting 39.1 percent in the paint. As he gets used to playing against the rim protectors in the NBA, as he gets used to trusting his athleticism to finish in those situations, his shooting percentage will go up close to the rim. As will his scoring numbers.
Just the threat of Westbrook has improved the Thunder offense. Wait until he starts knocking down shots.