“People really be scared to handle against him,” Jeremy Lamb said. “Scared to make a soft pass.”
But it’s not always like that for Westbrook. Sometimes he can yield free lanes for potent guards. Or sometimes he’ll chase unobtainable steals, leaving his back line exposed.
“When Russ don’t gamble and he’s solid,” Kendrick Perkins said. “And he puts in his mind that he wants to be the most athletic point guard to play the position on the defensive end, he does it.”
And he did it for most of this sensational postseason, unleashing a side of this All-Star guard we had yet to consistently see. But it also places a burden of added expectations on Westbrook. Once you’ve shown it, now they’ll demand it.
“You saw it throughout this series how much it impacts the game and how it can help our team out,” Westbrook said of that ferocious end-to-end effort. “I’m definitely going to make more of an effort starting next year to do it throughout the season.”