Howdy from the East side of the state. You are a busy guy these days so I'll be brief.
Casual basketball fans form their opinion on players depending on the media they consume. What does that mean for your reputation Russell? Glad you asked.
Big media must fill 24/7 news cycles. If you cough, they assume you are ill. If your shoe comes untied, that means you are protesting a footwear deal. Mountains out of molehills.
Medium media lost their creative gene. It is unclear who they target most of the time. You might see them in the arena licking their finger holding it in the air among other places.
Here are a few things that have been said about you lately and a few things that should have been said as well:
•You are a ball hog
This is my favorite. You ended the regular season in the top-10 league wide in assists. You have elevated to the top-six in the playoffs.
Either you are the sneakiest ball hog ever or someone is doctoring your assists numbers in the books. Anyone who watched the majority of your games the past two years could reveal the truth. Just ask Coach Brooks. He gets it I bet.
•Kevin Durant wants you out of Oklahoma City
A well respected reporter/analysis mentioned an old Minnesota Timberwolves scenario. Stephon Marbury and Kevin Garnett could not co-exist in Minny. They were knuckleheads.
This premise and comparison exudes ridiculousness. Was he comparing you to Marbury or Garnett? Very little of your game reflects Marbury or Garnett. Toughness maybe? Physical defense? Then the pundit was calling Durant a Marbury clone? Egad.
On the Brightside you received more fist pounds, chest bumps, high-fives and atta boys than any other player in the history of basketball on his way out of town... allegedly.
•You are still learning the position
Somehow people think this is a negative trait. Not that you need to be reminded, but you are 22 years old. You started playing the point guard position just a few years ago.
Michael Jordan crafted his game every season. Did these experts pile on MJ when his shot was not falling? Did they say he was still learning the game?
By the way, you led the Thunder to 50 and 55 win seasons the past two years. So if you are still learning, what is the ceiling?
•You and your teammates celebrated too much in Game 5 of the Memphis series
Just one of those things. Thunder fans loved it. Angry fans of losing teams did not. Celebrate when you can. Life is too short. Your natural exuberance makes you the player you are. Keep on keeping on.
•Westbrook will depart the small market when his contract is up
Fine, just do not go LeBron on us. Give us an honest effort and let us down easy.
However, if winning is the most important thing to you, why not sign an extension and break records. Look around the National Basketball Association. There are very few if any better basketball situations than the one you have in OKC. And you know this.
•You do not know when to pass and when to shoot
On the contrary. For a three-year guard you have almost mastered the decision. It is hard to pass to Kevin when Tony Allen is attached to his hip.
Do not let unathletic talking heads persuade you from going gangbusters down the lane against an overmatched opponent.
Two of a Kind.
There are not five players in the world more competitive than you. Does it sometime lead to avoidable turnovers or ill-advised shots? Absolutely. But there is no reason to cage the beast. Do your thing Russell.
ESPN's Facebook page ran a cutsie poll the morning of Game 7. Durant or Westbrook? Vote.
Let America pick. Thunder fans want both. Luckily (or unluckily for Grizzly fans) both of you delivered. Durant scored like a leading scorer while you filled the stat sheet.
In case you forgot, your Game 7 triple-double was the first since Scottie Pippen in 1992 against the New York Knicks. Feel free to embrace this comparison instead of the Marbury/Garnett one. Some ball hog you have become.
Congratulations on being named to the All-NBA Second Team. Finishing second to Derrick Rose is an honor. In fact, maybe comparing you and Rose is the way to go.
A casual basketball fan could look at you and D-Rose's stats side-by-side and wonder who the better player is. The statistics are practically identical. Even your height and weight are the same.
Rose is applauded for carrying his team. You are panned for taking too many shots. He averaged more shots in the regular season and postseason than you.
Now the pundits will point out that you have Kevin on your team. This is true but should not be counted against you. It is hardly your fault Carlos Boozer and Joakim Noah have come up small while Kevin and James have flourished.
In closing, do not change your game because Big and Medium media need to fill space.
Bring the passion, pressure and pizzazz Thunder fans across the state desire.
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