Who is Russell Westbrook?

Last month, John Canzano wrote a blurb on seeing Kevin Pritchard at the UCLA-Oregon game.  KP brought with him his all star cast of Blazers assistant GM Tom Penn, scout Michael Born and scout Chad Buchanan. Obviously, the Trailblazer engine was working that night to see if they like a certain player in the UCLA team. We don’t think it was Oregon native Kevin Love, but Love’s combo guard, Russell Westbrook. So what do we know about this UCLA player? Here are some facts about Mr. Westbrook:

The basics: He was born in Long Beach, California and is currently a sophomore at UCLA. He’s 6’3 and a lefty (There’s something about lefty’s that makes you think of greatness i.e. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, The Lone Ranger and the guy who invented the Dyson Vacuum)

The man is averaging 12.4 points per game, almost 5 assists and 4 rebounds. He’s comfortable playing either with the rock in his hand or playing off of it. In terms of shooting, UCLA coach, Ben Howland wanted Westbrook to improve his shot before his sophomore year, and being the obedient young man he was, Westbrook took the summer shooting enough jumpers to make 500 made baskets everyday. Wow! That’s some work ethic coming from a 19 year old.

Here’s what Fan Nation said about Westbrook’s game:

Strengths- Russell is an explosive and athletic combo guard who can get anywhere on the court he wants to.  He posesses a lethal first step and a nasty crossover.  Although his game is suited more to the 2-Guard position, Westbrook is a good passer and is very unselfish.  Gets good lift on his jumpshot and has an excellent mid-range game.  Teammates and coaches say he’s a great person to have in the locker room and is very coachable.

Weaknesses- For all of his athletic ability, Westbrook is still pretty undersized for a SG at 6-4.  He also tends to struggle when faced with full-court pressure and can become flustered. Free throw shooting might become a problem for him.  He shot 55% as a freshman but has improved a lot this year.

As far as his character, he sounds like a Trail Blazer already. We would love to see a player with the aggressiveness that takes him to the basket (not named Brandon Roy). Jarrett Jack has the ability, but finishing is not his strength. If you haven’t seen Westbrook finish, here a little clip:

Analyzing his weakness, his size would be an issue as a two guard, but we really don’t need a 2. We need a point guard who can handle and distribute the ball well. We need somebody who can run the pick and roll with fluidity. If Westbrook struggles with defensive pressure, we might as well stay with Jack who knows our offense and has been proven in the NBA.

Bottom line: Westbrook could be another Monta Ellis, and with our lack of fastbreak points, he would be a breath of fresh air. So what do you think? Would Russell Westbrook be a great addition to this soon-to-be championship team?


12 Responses to “Who is Russell Westbrook?”

  1. I’m a big UCLA fan, and more than Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook is the reason why this team is doing so well. If he’s available when the Blazers draft, they should take him. He is so explosive for a guard. He’s fast and can pass the ball. I’m not so sure that he buckles under pressure, but if he does, it’s because he’s young. Sound like he’s coachable too. That’s a big plus with McMillan. I could see this guy being a great back-up PG for the Blazers.

  2. Pretty Ricky Says:

    Why not Kevin Love? I’d like to see a power forward that can bang inside. Our guys right now are so weak under the basket. How many times have we been outrebounded? I know the big Greg Oden is coming, but how about some home grown white bread to join the already amazing ball club?

  3. nikolokolus Says:

    He could be good, but he’s very raw and has issues with his handle … I’d like to see how he handles himself through the tournament before we all get too excited.

    The most intriguing thing about him IMO is his lock-down defense

  4. I was going to watch the tournament anyway, but now I can scout this guy at the same time. I know we don’t have a goldmine PG, but I get the feeling they are making room for a free agent in the next couple years.

  5. nikololsdo, I’m worried about scouting heavily during march madness. Many players that do well, don’t when they play in the NBA. I think if Pritchard is scouting this guy already the tourney won’t deter him if Westbrook doesn’t play well. Did anyone see the game tonight btw Stanford and UCLA? what a nailbiter.

  6. Jarrett jack is a pretty good finisher, especially when he gets fouled. I don’t see this kid being the PG of the future. That said, he might be a good backup and lockerroom type guy.

  7. Aaron T. Says:

    Great UCLA gam last night. Westbrook was okay, but nothing that amazing. I wold rather trade this pick or get another european that we can keep overseas and allow this current team to build chemistry. Jack is okay when finishing, but I’m tired of seeing him flop all the time. He’s a strong guy who should always think about scoring when he penetrates and not looking for that foul.

  8. He was there to see both.Either would be great additions to this growing team.

  9. […] After helping the UCLA Bruins advance to back-to-back Final Four appearances, Russell Westbrook joined teammates Kevin Love and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in declaring early for the 2008 NBA Draft. […]

  10. He not left handed you contradict yourself by saying he 6-3 then write that he 6-4 later on well done genesis.

  11. I love RUSSEL!!!!!!!!!!!He one of the goodest players on the TEAM!Come on now the guy has potital!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. buy iq massager pro…

    […]Who is Russell Westbrook? « BlazersOG[…]…

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