For today’s episode of the Countdown to Tip-Off by the Thunder Guys, let’s take a look at Russell Westbrook’s playoff minutes last season. Typically star players see a boost in their playtime during the playoffs, and this was definitely the case for Westbrook.
During the regular season, Westbrook averaged just under 35 minutes per game, but in the playoffs, that jumped up to 39. While four minutes doesn’t seem like a big deal, the difference was noticeable. Because the Thunder were able to manage his minutes during the regular season, Westbrook rarely dealt with being tired during clutch time, and instead, he would show up in a big way, often putting the game away for good. Unfortunately, this was not the case in the playoffs.
There were several moments late in those first round games against Houston that Westbrook was obviously dealing with fatigue. He saw his field goal percentage drop from 42.5% in the regular season to 39% in the playoffs, and he simply could not finish games like he did during the regular season. While these were not the only reasons the Thunder fell to the Rockets in the first round, they undoubtedly contributed on some level.
With the Thunder adding several solid pieces to play around Westbrook, it makes sense that his playtime will be easily managed during the regular season, and come time for playoffs, he will have more help, which means he can rely on his teammates more readily. One thing is for sure, no matter how many minutes he plays, the Brodie is never one to play with a lack of hustle.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.