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Russell Westbrook report card: Not all A's, despite a monster season

Russell Westbrook had another monster season – his third straight year averaging a triple double, which means he’s accounted for 75 percent of the triple-double seasons in NBA history. But Westbrook also had some issues that are cause for concern. Here is how we grade him for the 2018-19 season:


Aggression: B. Westbrook has stormed the basket with gusto since he hit the NBA 11 years ago. And even this year, Westbrook took 36.1 percent of his shots from within three feet of the rim, which is slightly above his career norm, and he made a career-best 65 percent of those shots. But Westbrook needs to attack more than ever. His jumpshot has cratered. His percentage on shots 3-10 feet was .208, easily a career worst, and his percentage on shots 10-16 feet was .333, also a career worst. Maybe Westbrook fears getting fouled, since he made just 65.6 percent of his foul shots after making 82.3 percent his first nine years in the league. Westbrook’s 6.2 foul shots per game were his lowest since 2009-10. And his 33 dunks this season were his fewest in nine years. Maybe he doesn’t trust his lift as much, which is natural when a guy turns 30. But Westbrook is best at the rim. He needs to get there as much as possible.


Passing: A. Westbrook has become a premier distributor. He has averaged double-digit assists four straight years. Westbrook led the NBA in assists, 10.7 per game, for the second straight year. In the last 66 years, only Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Jason Kidd, John Stockton, Kevin Porter, Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul and Steve Nash had done so.


Stamina: A. At age 30, Westsbrook’s energy level remained strong. He played 36 minutes a game, the second-highest figure of his career, behind only the 36.4 last season, when he was 29. Even in the Herculean season of two years ago, Westbrook averaged just 34.6 minutes per game. And he didn’t wear down. Westbrook’s two worst months offensively were December and January; his production and efficiency were much better after the All-Star break.


Fouling: C. Westbrook averaged a career high 3.4 fouls per game. Worse yet, he committed 78 shooting fouls, by far a career high. Westbrook sometimes gets lazy on defense, but if he adds sloppiness to that, his defensive value goes way down.


Rebounding: B. Hard to give perhaps the NBA’s greatest-ever rebounding guard a B, but Westbrook’s offensive rebounds dipped to 1.5 per game, his lowest in five years. Westbrook often tries – and does – bully less physical guards when he has the ball (just ask Damian Lillard), but Westbrook could be just as effective exerting his will after he makes some of those many passes that lead to shots. Defensive rebounds, of course, are fantastic. Westbrook’s rebounded approximately 28.3 percent of the defensive rebounds available while he was on the court, 10th-best in the league. The rest of the top 20 were either centers or power forwards.

Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates a 3-point basket during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019.  Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates a 3-point basket during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-834dfa2b8a7f1aee8754fea0da850d4a.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates a 3-point basket during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman" title="Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates a 3-point basket during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook (0) celebrates a 3-point basket during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Sunday, April 21, 2019. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›

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