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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 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:
On when he made that decision about his game: "When I found out you could get one more point for shooting 3s."— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) May 24, 2014
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.