The Warriors Think Russell Westbrook Is “Easy To Defend”

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Though Russell Westbrook spent the 2016-17 season lighting boxscores on fire, the Golden State Warriors believed, and still believe, that locking the Oklahoma City Thunder star is easy as pie.

Or, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, easy as cake.

“Jack McCallum’s new book (Golden Days: West’s Lakers, Steph’s Warriors, and the California Dreamers Who Reinvented Basketball) about the Warriors has a bunch of anonymous Warriors talking about Russ and how they don’t fear Russ,” Lowe told Ryen Russillo on podcast The Lowe Post. “How [Kevin Durant] left partly cause of Russ. How Russ’s style of play is so easy for them to defend it’s like cake to them.”

“I mean think how easy that would be,” Russillo responded. “We have to worry about one guy.”

“I’ve talked to the Warriors about his kind of stuff,” Lowe replied. “What’s in Jack’s book is 100 percent what they say when you ask them about Russ.”

The numbers back it up; Westbrook has been trash against the Warriors over the last three seasons.

Westbrook managed to shoot over 40 percent in just three contests during the 17-game sample. The one time he shot over 50 percent from the field, he turned the ball over 11 times. It was the second consecutive game against the Warriors in which he posted double-digit turnovers.

They also wore him down on the defensive end.

Of course, most players struggle against the terrifying Warriors defense. They have the personnel (Durant, Draymond Green) to switch onto Russ out of the pick-and-roll, and because his supporting cast last season was so weak, the Dubs could focus almost all their attention on him and forcing him into the off-the-dribble, long-range shots that are key to keeping Westbrook inefficient.

Hopefully for the Thunder, the additions of serious threats in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony mean he’ll feel less compelled to take the difficult shots the Warriors have been happy to let him shoot.

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