Westbrook has always been known to possess great athleticism. Coming out of college, that was his biggest strength, which made him an explosive shooting guard.
Yet, at the time, not many were sure he could make the transition to point guard and still be able to keep his explosiveness. But he has found a way. In his fifth year he averaged 23 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists in 82 games.
“He’s a world class athlete,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “There is no question about it. I think everybody coming out of UCLA was wondering, what is Russell going to be. I watched him a lot that year because we ended up with (Kevin) Love in Minnesota. I was up there at the time. His maturation into becoming an All-star and elite guard has really been something. He plays downhill, and he plays fast. And he’s aggressive, and he’s coming at you.”
After seeing Westbrook go coast to coast on his Rockets several times in Game 1 of their first-round series, McHale said his team has to be committed to getting in his way and taking charges during Game 2 tonight at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Westbrook seems petty confident that’s not happening.
“I’m pretty sure they won’t,” Westbrook said.
While most point guards in today’s game have degrees of quickness in their game, Westbrook is one of a handful who are flat-out dominant athletes. When healthy and playing, Derek Rose was in that small group. When Brooks was asked which players from the past to whom Westbrook could be compared, he couldn’t think of any.
“He is an amazing athlete,” Brooks said. “He’s driven. Very driven. He made a layup in front of our bench, that I gave Maurice (Cheeks) a little elbow. I said we didn’t see that in the 80s.”
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