Last year there were lots of posts, on here and among NBA GMs, whether the Thunder should keep Westbrook or Harden. I'm pretty certain the G'ma said they should keep Harden over Westbrook, and if my memory serves me right, Westbrook easily won the polls from the posts on here. Now that we see that Harden is a legit superstar, who so you think OKC would have been better off with, Westbrook or Harden?
Keep in mind, if Harden, the team as it is wouldn't exist with Martin, Lamb, nor Toronto pick. Also, if you say Harden, what trade opportunities would there have been for Westbrook? Salary is an issue, so for example you couldn't have swapped Westbrook for Paul bc OKC really cannot afford it.
This is a great question but I think that it would of came down too who would of brought in more in a trade. I dunno what Westbrook could of got them but Harden gave themm an amazing return on investment and his role on the Thunder was easily filled by Martin whose more efficient.
I would argue that they made the right move because Westbrooks penetration opens the floor for Durant and remenber Harden didnt always attack as aaggresively.
Also the Thunder need a stud PG who can match up wit the likes of CP3 and even Wade. West has that rare athleticism you cant gameplan for and has more history wit KD as their chemistry comes from hours in the gym together and being thrown into the fire right away in Seattle and logging a ton of experience together.
So id say they made the right move as theyre record would indicate, and Harden isnt great at defending PGs.
Westbrook all day, too explosive and talented, way too good, he's still getting better, you don't trade a 21, 9, and 5 point guard who compliments the 2nd best player in the game. However I am of the belief that he needs to let Durant take more shots, but I'm still a huge Westbrook believer.
I said Westbrook was better at the beginning of the season but with Harden averaging 26-5-4 while leading the league in FT/PG, it's getting a lot tougher for me to say Westbrook.
Not only that, Harden is leading Houston to Ws and the Rockets are now the #1 PPG team in the L. Harden has ALOT to do with that.
On the other hand, Westbrook is shooting 41% from the field and is taking 4 (FOUR) three pointers a game, which is ridiculous for him since he's not a good 3pt shooter (30% for his career)
I'm starting to lean towards Harden but one thing's for sure, it's a lot closer than it was 3 months ago
They are pretty much even on the offensive side of the ball at this point but Westbrook effects the game much more on defense. He plays tenacious on ball defense and also plays the passing lanes better than Harden. Harden is obviously the better shooter but I will take Westbrook and his explosiveness...however I agree it is much closer than it was 3 months ago as well.
The only knock I really have with Westbrook is he is very erratic on both ends of the floor.
By that, I mean he can gamble all game long and get burned time and time again and he'll still gamble. On the flip side, he could end up with 5 steals in a game and keep the opposing PG shook and over thinking.
On offense, if it's a big game, you can almost bet Westbrook is going to shoot 20-25 shots. He's so good that he can make 17 of them and give you a 40 point night, but by that same token, he can make only 5 and score 10points while continuing to shoot.
Westbrook is always the reason why OKC wins or the reason why they lose, whereas Harden is much more even-keel. Harden rarely has bad games and even if he's shooting the ball badly, he's getting to the line as he's shown this season. He's much more consistent than Westbrook but you have to love Westbrook's energy and effort, even when he's having a bad night, he doesn't give up.
I think OKC would have been better if they had traded Westbrook for Rondo. Then they might have been able to keep James Harden. Rondo already leads the league in assist and steals, just imagine him dishing the ball to young athletic guys like KD, Harden, Ibaka, that can finish and score in different ways. He also wouldn't take anything from the team defensively either. Rondo’s contract is team friendly 50 mill for 5 yrs. While Westbrook has a max contract somewhere around 80 mill for 5yrs.
I remember this thread during last years playoffs and again this past summer. On both occasions I argued in favor of keeping Harden and trading Westbrook if it came down to it. Nothing I've seen this season has changed my mind.
My main concern stems from how Westbrook plays the game... its admirable that he is a balls to the wall type of player who you want on your team, but not on a max contract. Tongue-Out-Like-23 nailed it when he said Westbrook is "eratic" on both ends of the floor, not something your really looking for in a stability position like the PG spot. I'm also leary of when Westbrook encounters his first major injury. He relies too much on being athletically dominant. He is not a good enough shooter to be a spot up player, he has suspect shot selection and he doesn't have a great handle. He actually handles the ball abit like Lebron does. No 2-3 tier moves designed to shake his defender free. At the moment he is usually so far ahead of the opposing PG athletically that he can makeup for his mistakes by being able to recover fast. If we're talking about about making teammates better... again, he's ok, but nothing like a tradional PG. I'm more comfortable with calling Westbrook a "guard". I've heard interviews after games the last 2 years where Westbrook or Durant have talked about end game sequences where both players have said its "Durants time". Obviously Westbrook was told to stop shooting late in games and to get the ball into Durants hands. He's probably been given a free pass for the rest of the game but when things are close in crunch time the coach wants the ball out of Westbrooks hands and in Durants. Its kind of shocking that this was an issue to begin with. Westbrook is a bit of a chucker if he isn't told otherwise but his job is to make teammates successful not play hero ball, which he feels most comfortable doing.
Harden is a top notch SG with solid shooting numbers and shot selection. He has an excellant handle for any postion let alone SG. He has a decpetive change of speed, explosive first step and many counter moves when players play sticky defense. He has great size and athletic ability and appears to have the complete package as far as prototype SG makeup, including high IQ and understanding of play development. I also feel that being the biggest, strongest or fastest SG is unnecessary for Harden to be successful. If Harden should suffer a major injury he will still be a very productive player when he returns. In addition Harden is more then capable of running the PG spot in spurts with his above average passing. Lastly, his efficiency is amongst the best in the league as far as production is concerned. I get the impression Harden could start for any team in the league and make a team better. He is a presense which translates to wins. I'm not sure Westbrooks value to a given team would be as fruitful.
Westbrooks numbers are ok but they are over the top in all the areas I don't really value in my starting PG.
Steve Nash won 2 MVP's without scoring 20ppg. He did it by balancing a very talented team and picking and choosing his spots. Sure Nash has his deficiencies, like defense and athletic ability but he makes up for those by being a very smart and efficient player. Nash also shoots close to or over 180 numbers every season. (50%FG, 40%3p, 90%ft) Nash excels at the 2 most overlooked aspects for the PG position, making teammates better via decision making and shooting #'s.
I have also questioned if Westbrook gets hurt or losses a step would he fall rapidly like Steve Francis did when it happened to him.
this is a really hard question..... ask me again in june
I just think it comes down to the team makeup and what kind of player you would be able to get for Westbrook. The Houston deal and bringing in Kevin Martin was perfect. They havent lost a step. I would do that deal over and over again, because it doesnt hurt my team. If I could get Rondo for Russ, I probably would do that deal, but I just like what Westbrook brings. You have to live and die with him, but your chances of living are much better.
I still think Russell. While Harden is looking very good, his shooting percentages are down about 5% and is still a guy who seems to rely on having the ball in his hands far too often. IMO, take Westbrook off of OKC and give him his own team, you'd be seeing a guy far more similar to Rose who looks every bit the part of an MVP.
HAving said that, I wouldn't have been completely against a deal sending Russell to Boston for Rondo, and the two first round picks this year that ended up being Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger. Fab would have been perfect in a defensive role where he was able to get out and run the break on offense and catch lobs from the perimeter guys. Sully probably wouldn't have been the 3rd choice with Fab and Perry but at least they would have had some more cheap developing youth.
Harden is shooting 45% from the field. I don't see how that's a problem at all. Especially when you're taking 17 shots and getting 26 points a game.
you make 2 really good points about Westbrook having his own team....the guy would probably average more than Harden in points and still get around 7-8apg.
and Harden needing the ball in his hands a lot....it doesnt look like a problem now but when you get to a contender level it could be. he kinda limits the effectiveness of his PG's when playing in the lineup at the same time. You have been seeing that this year with Lin. Now I say that can be rectified by playing Harden along side another good ballhandler who is not a true PG and not as much of a scoring threat, but should be a lockdown defender type of guy. Otherwise, he limits the effectiveness of pass first PG's and vise versa.
I think that the fire and heart that russell westbrook plays with is why I would rather have him than james harden. Russell westbrook may turn the ball over 5 times and be shooting 9 of 26, but you know that he is still mentally in the game and will shoot it again with confidence and make it. Russell westbrooks mentality complements durant.
"and make it".
I'm not sure you can make that claim when he's shooting 41.5% on the year in a 9 for 26 game...or when he's producing 21.8ppg on 18.4 fga.
Its ok to think that way when you take shots you can actually make.
They should have kept Harden. Complete bull to say that they couldnt afford it. Yes the franchise might not have made as ,much money but it still would have been profitable. Especially with all the late round playoff games. Those are super profitable since you jack the ticket prices and yet you dont really pay the playeres any more. Franchise was cheap not paying Harden and also stupid for not realizing this guy is totally worth it.
And if you want one of Westbrook and Harden, you want Harden. He is better and younger.