BOSTON — Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo was willing to offer a few words of advice to Russell Westbrook, and the Thunder’s rookie point guard would be wise to listen up.
Before developing into an NBA champion in only his second season, Rondo heard many of the same criticisms about his game that cynics have used to dismiss Westbrook as the Thunder’s lead guard of the future.
Rondo, critics said, couldn’t consistently hit wide-open jumpers when he declared for the NBA Draft following his sophomore year at Kentucky. That scouting report was identical to Westbrook’s last June when the Thunder selected him fourth overall. It’s one that has become spot on now that Westbrook is shooting just 40 percent from the field.
And while Westbrook has shown more patience and precision as a playmaker, like Rondo, he entered the league capable of knifing his way into the lane at will but also struggled to make the right play while having a tendency to get out of control at times.
Now in his third season, however, and feeling as comfortable as ever, Rondo can look back and easily dissect all he wished he had done.
"Just try to run the show,” Rondo advised Westbrook. "Never try to do too much. You pick your spots when to attack. And just do the intangibles on the court. Offense will come.”
Of course, it’s the defensive end that persuaded Thunder general manager Sam Presti to select Westbrook, who once was perceived as a gamble at No. 4. Presti envisioned Westbrook evolving into a guard who can contain players such as Chris Paul, Tony Parker, Deron Williams and Rondo.