Nerdnumbers avatar

The Boxscore Geeks Show: Is Westbrook Overrated?

Our show is also available in audio only form (Some call it a podcast!)

This week's poll is pretty straightforward and fits with the theme of the podcast

What is Overrated?

There are two key things that make Westbrook overrated. The first is his pay. While Westbrook is an above average player, he is currently one of the top 25 paid players in the NBA. This hurts because teams are constrained by the CBA salary cap. Take James Harden leaving as a consequence of spending your salary cap poorly.

The second thing is the number of shots Westbrook takes. Westbrook is the 5th most efficient player on the Thunder. Yet, he takes the second most shots on the team. We're not suggesting he stop shooting, just maybe pass the ball a little more. Of course, that might be a problem...

Westbrook is talented. We can break down what he's good at. He's great at rebounding and good at stealing. He's marginally above average at shooting efficiency (this year, and for a point guard). However, he takes a ton of shots, and is quite turnover prone. When we examine why, we see he's actually a bad passer. Westbrook is considered good on offense, but when we break it down, that's not really the case. However, that is why he gets so much press.

Winning When it Matters

Westbrook does have good games, like his 40 point playoff performance. However, these are not the norm. Unlike players like Durant or LeBron, Westbrook's great games are more scarce. And even using the playoffs, Westbrook is only a few days removed from a terrible game where he shot 7 for 24.

The "trick" behind this is what's known as the availability heuristic. The easier it is to remember something, the more likely we think it is. It's easy to remember Westbrook's great games, and easy to forget his subpar games. The reason for the forgetfulness? Westbrook's had great teammates his whole career, so he's less likely to lose when he has bad games.

Hopefully, you're a little sold on Westbrook maybe being a little overhyped.


Thanks to @SnottieDrippen for politely giving me a friend follow this week. I've jumped over 3K followers on Twitter thanks to his amazing shoutout.

Congrats to Ethan Sherwood Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) for being hired fulltime by ESPN. Ethan's a great analyst and basketball writer. And oh yeah, he named "Yay! Points!"

Congrats to Thibaut Narme (@thibaut_n) for completing his thesis, which is on sports economics and basketball! Thibaut's been a follower of the Wages of Wins crew for years, so great work!

Finally, our producer Brian had a shoutout for Zache Lowe and Chris Bosh:

An astute observation, that perfectly caps off a podcast about a scorer being overrated for shooting so much! Enjoy the show and we'll see you next week.

Well, he is not the best player in tha NBA. But assume it, he can outplay everyone when he is on fire, like he did last time. He has to be taught not to waste his talent and athleticism.
Not assume of course, it has to be admit. Tried to reformulate mz phrase.
In particular he takes quite a lot of 3s and shoots them poorly. I'm guessing if he simply took about half as many 3s his WP48 number would shoot up a fair bit. For him it's probably a matter of, if he's not on fire, pass the ball to KD.
Had this podcast on while walking to work this morning; when you were looking up the best comp for Westbrook, I yelled out "Patty Mills! Patty fuckin' Mills!" to 20 passers by.
I agree that Westbrook, the point guard, is overrated; he isn't a great passer and makes a lot of dumb decisions (including, but not limited to, taking a lot of dumb shots early in the shot clock).

I also would not be surprised if Westbrook, the shooting guard, is not overrated. He's fantastic defensively, and a great offensive rebounder (wasted by all those contested jumpers he takes), he thrives in transition. He might be exactly as good as people think he is when someone else is distributing.

I'd be really interested to see his splits when he's playing PG vs SG, and if there's a significant difference in performance between the two.
What a waste of ability. Russell Westbrook is a once in a lifetime talent. He has all the athleticism in the world and is a very good shooter. Too bad he plays every game like he's going to kill someone and likes to drive to the rim with his eyes closed. Imagine if Poppovich had a chance to coach Westbrook.

Sign in to write a comment.