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Another potential weapon for Russell Westbrook: The floater

Most of the NBA's best point guards have a floater in their arsenal. Thunder guard Russell Westbrook doesn't have a consistent floater, but adding one could make him even more of a threat.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 13, 2011

While a floater could potentially lessen Westbrook's free-throw attempts, which currently are at a career-high 8.0 per game, it also could become one more skill that keeps defenders off balance. Westbrook already has wonderful body control, helping him to twist and turn to avoid contact at times. But he can be better.

Chicago's Derrick Rose, a workout partner of Westbrook's in the summertime, this season returned with a virtually unstoppable floater. Rose drives hard to his right, gets just near the block and tosses up a rainbow, almost while falling out of bounds.

Maynor, whose floater originated as a youngster playing against older, taller opponents, now sees how such shots frustrate frontcourt players.

“It's real tricky,” Maynor said. “You never know when it's going up. So the defender really is off balance all the time. This is my second year. I've gotten my floater blocked once, I think. And that was by (Andrew) Bynum. He had timed it perfectly.”

If nothing else, a floater can be used as additional protection. Instead of trying to challenge every post player, lobbing shots up ever so softly avoids unnecessary contact and limits the risk of injury. Westbrook has yet to miss a game as a pro.

But he takes a beating. And he won't be young forever.

“The good thing about it is he doesn't have to shoot it all the time. He can mix it up,” Maynor said. “If he develops it just a little bit it'll be trouble.”