“Russell has improved every year in the post,” Brooks said. “I think he's more comfortable this year. I think it's also natural that he's been working on it three or four years now. I still think we can get him down there more. He has the ability to make plays for himself and his teammates and they're easy plays for him.”
The 6-foot-3, 187-pound Westbrook said he has permission to call his own number down on the post. There also are set plays called out by Brooks.
“It's a combination,” Brooks said of who makes the decision. “He has the ability to go down there and post up or set a low pick-and-roll. … He's strong, he's athletic, he's quick, and he has good moves down there. He also can make passes to our perimeter shooters.”
Has Westbrook got down low enough? “Not enough,” Westbrook said. “I will, though. I've just got to find a way to get down there.”
Even after an off night against Houston that saw Westbrook miss his first three free-throw attempts, OKC's success rate at the line is on a record-setting pace.
The Thunder is shooting a league-best 84.5 percent as a team, which is nearly 4 percent better than runner-up Memphis (80.6). OKC also leads the league in made free throws at 23.2 per game and is second in attempts at 27.4.
The NBA season record for highest free-throw percentage is Boston at 83.2. OKC has led the NBA in free-throw shooting the last two seasons and finished second three seasons ago.
OKC also ranks first in scoring (105.4), second in field-goal percentage (. 483) and third in 3-point percentage (. 416).
BY JOHN ROHDE