Friday, April 26, 2013

Another Interesting Case Study Courtesy of Russell Westbrook's Meniscus

As a proponent of analytics, my interest is piqued when conventional wisdom (Russell Westbrook is a borderline top five player) comes up against the objective viewpoint (Russell Westbrook is pretty good most of the time) in the NBA laboratory. Without Westbrook, will the Thunder become one-dimensional, will the supporting cast find it harder to get good shots, and will they be susceptible to a second round upset at the hands of L.A or the Griz? Or will Reggie Jackson replace 75% of Westbrook's production and will OKC mow down all-comers on the way to the Western Finals?

While there aren't many specifics regarding Russ' torn meniscus, we do know he's going under the knife and that two weeks out is the absolute minimum he'll spend on the shelf. Note: World Peace just came back from this in under two weeks, and when asked how, attributed the near-miraculous recovery to general sexiness. So, take that under advisement, I guess. 

Assuming Reggie Jackson receives the bulk of the playing time at the point (read: not Derek Fisher) then the Thunder should more or less cruise without Russ. Russ was better during the regular season (WP48 -1.44 versus 1.06 for Jackson) but both players fall into the net of 'pretty good'.

Of course, even if the Thunder stay the course, the endless media-driven shell game of conventional sports analysis will rhapsodize the championship pedigree of Fisher, the steely cool of Scott Brooks, and Westbrook's sideline fashion choices as reasons for OKC's continued success. Hey, talking is easy when you can't be wrong.

P.S- Do we think he owns a suit?